Friday, June 29, 2007

town to town playing loud

The house is sold. After all my doubts it didn't really turn out so badly at all. We had a second showing of the house that cropped up just fifteen minutes before we'd planned to close the deal, and this led to a second offer. The second offer forced the first offer to raise their price a bit, ending up with an agreement a little over the listing price. Of course when deciding which offer to accept, it was all about dollars for Shawn and the realtor - but there was a part of me that really wanted to sell it to the couple that was bidding less. They just seemed like nice people.

Normally you aren't supposed to meet potential buyers, and we never met the couple who actually got the house, but the other couple was coming out of our house as we were going in, and I just liked them straight away. I made noises about giving them another chance to bid again and Shawn and the realtor looked at me like I was from another planet and got the papers ready for couple numero uno. Sometimes I have feelings that are highly impractical.

On Wednesday night we had house inspectors coming in to prepare a report for the new owners to assure them the house didn't just look good, but is actually in good shape. That meant we needed to make ourselves scarce again for a few hours. This time we drove out to the country to visit Shawn's mother and her partner.

They have a fenced yard and we were able to let the puppers run free for the whole time. They had so much fun! Tenacious D eat a zillion weeds, Puppy E chased butterflies, and Little Puppy jumped up and down off my chair literally hundreds of times in her indecision as to whether she wanted the comfort of Mum or the joy of freedom in a strange new place.

While we were there, D told us how she and Shawn's mum were saving to buy a porch swing that they loved to add to their beautiful garden. When Shawn's mum went inside to get drinks, Shawn snuck D a cheque to buy the swing as a surprise for her. D told us the next day they drove out to "look" at the swing, and when Shawn's mum said again how much she loved it, D said, "Hey, let's get it." Surprise! If there's anything about being financially stable that makes it possible to "buy happiness", this is it. Doing kind things for other people.

Yesterday was my last day of teaching and I said farewell yet another staff (though I hardly felt I knew these ones since I was there only two days a week) and now I am, once again, a woman of leisure.

I only get to keep Shawn for a week now before he has to start the new job. He's driving out there next Friday. I'm going to miss him so much!

Having sold this house, though, makes it easier, I believe, to get started on the process of finding a new home on the coast. Now we have the down payment ready it's possible to start looking more seriously.

Shawn is going to do some preliminary searching before I join him there to help make the final decision. We've decided to stay firm on the fact that we don't want one of these bizarre 3500 square foot homes, even though they might be common and priced like the smaller ones. There's simply no way we will even own enough furniture to fill a space that big. There is simply no way I will ever have the energy or the desire to clean a space that big. There is simply no way.

I've been polling everyone I know for advice on allergy relief and found that most of them say Benadryl really is the best one. They suggest taking half the dosage and giving my body time to adjust to that first before progressing to the full dose. I've done that a couple of times and definitely found it to work better. Allergies reasonably tolerable and I'm awake. Benadryl, you're lucky. I'm giving you another chance, so don't let me down.

As usual, there are things I ought to be doing and am not doing out of laziness, lack of interest, and lack of motivation. It isn't fair, of course, to leave things for Shawn to do when he gets home from work while I sit around all day lazing, so at some point I'm going to have to kick my own butt so the dishwasher gets emptied, the lawn mowed, the laundry folded and put away. But for now, I think I'd rather take the dogs for a walk. And we're off.


Monday, June 25, 2007

The realtor said he would phone at 8:30 to discuss the offer he was expecting. He didn't call. This means tomorrow is more adventures.

This is my life

At 11:15, I loaded all the dogs into the travel crate, got in the vehicle and drove them to the wildlife preserve where it is okay to walk dogs as long as they are leashed. We strolled around awhile, batting at mosquitoes and killing time until 12:00 when the realtor had promised me I could come home.

Fabulous luck that Puppy D managed to find an enormous pile of horse dung (I think it was horse but didn't check too closely) and roll through it several times before I realised what he was doing. Ugh.

Leaving a wake of dung-stink, we made our way back to the vehicle; I loaded them all back into their travel crate. D, of course, managed to get dung on me, the blankets inside the crate, and both other dogs. The inside of the new Element smells great now too.

I drove back home and realised, when I pulled into the driveway, that the realtor was still there with his clients. Not wanting to sour any potential sale with the stench I was carrying, I left again and went for a little drive around the block thinking they'd be gone in ten minutes or so. When I returned the second time they were still there. And a third time and a fourth time, during which I stopped to fill up with gas since I was wasting it all driving around in circles. A fifth time brought us to 12:50 at which point I called Shawn on my cell phone to ask him if the realtor had called to make an offer because these people were STILL in the house. Shawn said no, and sent the realtor a text message to let him know I was waiting to get back in. (The realtor, it turned out, had left his phone inside his car. Of course.)

Having grown weary and annoyed with driving in circles with my horrible-smelling cargo, I abandoned hope and pulled up at the end of my street where I could see the realtor's car and waited for him to go away. Another ten minutes later I saw some people emerge from the house and begin walking up and down and through our yard inspecting each tree and shrub.

Finally, finally, an hour and forty-five minutes after I'd left the house (for an alleged half hour tour) I was allowed back into my own home. The realtor pulled up behind me and said they were considering it and would get back to him later tonight. Sigh. You'd think after that long they'd know whether they wanted it or not. I'm praying this is it so this doesn't have to become a daily routine.

I've bathed all the dogs and they still smell like horse-dung. And so do I. This is my life now.


right now everything is turning blue

Back to living on eggshells. It's 10:30 and I have an hour to get out of here with the pups so that our realtor can take some people through the house. The realtor says he figures he can our house within ten days so I hope that means we won't be living like this for long. I hope he sells it today. In an hour from now. I don't like living this way; the less time it's necessary the better.


Monday, June 18, 2007

sheer natural backdrop

I told a doctor once that I thought I was allergic to Cottonwood. He asked how I knew this and I told him my hayfever was always at its worst when the little fluffs of cotton were blowing all over the place. He said I couldn't be allergic to those unless I was eating them because the pieces were too big to be inhaled. An interesting point I hadn't considered.

Nonetheless, whatever I am allergic to pollinates at the same time the Cottonwood drops cotton... and most likely that's ragweed, though it could be any number of things or any combination.

Hayfever medicine is one of the only drugs I take. I do so because my allergies are so bad that without it my eyes are so itchy that I fantasize about pulling them out of my head and running them under cold water. The sneezing I can put up with - but the itchy eyes drive me insane.

This season I tried something new in my ongoing search for an effective hayfever medication, and found Benadryl. Take two with water. When I take these pills, I fall almost immediately into a deep uninterrupted sleep that lasts, on its own, indefinitely.

When I awoke this morning at 7:00 to the sound of Shawn's alarm clock, I was able to fall back asleep again immediately, so quickly in fact that I didn't even hear him leave. Now it's just past 8:30 and I still can't seem to get my eyelids all the way open. No sneezing or itching... but no being awake and alert either. Seems too high a price to pay. I could be itch and sneeze free if I was dead, too, and there doesn't seem to be much of a difference. I'm done with Benadryl.


We've decided to list our house for sale as of next Monday. That is, the house we're currently living in will be up for sale. I dread that part of the experience, the part where you have to be ready to pack up and leave the house at a moment's notice when the realtor calls and says they're bringing someone by. Our realtor has promised us that he will be the only one with access and that means we can have far greater control over the comings and goings than last time, and I'm hoping we sell quickly so we won't need to live on pins and needles for too long.

As for the new house, the beautiful new house we designed and will never get to live in, it still isn't finished being built. That means we can't sell it because it still, technically, doesn't belong to us. We aren't permitted to sell it until we have made the full down payment (dependent on the sale of this house) and taken possession of it. That, of course, still doesn't mean we'll ever get to live in it. Just that we'll own it on paper so we can sell it to someone else. I'm sort of jealous of whoever gets to have our pretty pretty pretty new house. However, at the rate it's being built, no one will have it for years.

Our position is precarious as we look for yet another house in Vancouver. Though we've done well on our investments, we are in the position of having most of our dollars tied up in property. With the possession of house 2 dependent on the sale of house 1, and the purchase of house 3 dependent on the sale of house 2, we find ourselves somewhat stuck. Shawn's father found us a broker in Vancouver who is working out creative solutions and inventing things like double-bridge financing to try and make things work.

I'm not looking forward to Shawn being gone and being alone here without my family or friends nearby - but I believe it's going to be the right thing for both of us in the near future. That has to be enough motivation to get through it.


I'm applying for jobs there now, already. And already feeling a sense of holding my breath. I remember when I was younger and applying for jobs like working at the post office or the daycare centre... I always got every job I applied for. It gave me the sense that I was invincible. What I didn't realise then was that I was probably, in many cases, the only applicant.

It's different now. I'm in competition. And I'm in competition with people who are more confident than I, more self-assured and more convinced of their rightness. People who look comfortable in expensive suits and high heels and acrylic fingernails. Or neckties.

I found a posting for something that seemed so right for me that I've been thinking about it ever since. I have all the "required" and all the "preferred" education and experience. But I can't walk in high heels and I'm shy when I first meet people. I know these things count against me. I'm also at the bottom of their preferred hiring list because I'm an outside applicant and they fully admit they give preference to their own people in a specific hierarchy that places me in the last out of seven categories. I might not even get an interview for which I would need to overcome shyness and wobbliness. And still, it's a perfect job for me. I'm just not sure I'm perfect for it. Or for anything else for that matter.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

These things used to be mine, I guess they still are, I want them back

Puppy E bounced out of bed and down the hall this morning and promptly smashed the champagne flute that was sitting on the end table, left there from last night. A nice thing about inexpensive dishes is that when they break you don't feel any real concern other than for the potential glass cuts in puppy paws while ushering him gently back to bed. Daddy is still in bed; go cuddle him; keep him warm while I clean up the glass.

There was sunshine yesterday, enough so that it was possible to go outside awhile and walk the dogs. Enough that Shawn got a little sunburn on the tip of his nose. And now it's raining again. I always forget how much rain there is in the summer, even here.

Last night G & R came over for drinks to say goodbye to Shawn as he prepares to leave for Vancouver. I always find them easier to take when I'm drinking. They walked home, leaving their car in the driveway and effectively ensuring that we'll have to see them again this morning sober when they return to fetch it. It's a strange thing that when I've had alcohol the night before I always wake up early unable to fall back asleep. We walked them home at 1:00 in the morning to convince them it couldn't be such a long walk if we were able to manage it in both directions. Puppy E came with us.

Today is Father's Day. It is special because I adore my father - and it's a time that nothing I can say on the subject is adequate to express how fortunate I feel to have been raised by such a man. There's a kind of allegiance that never changes when you have loved and been loved this way. I no longer let other things interfere.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Why did I have to break in? I only came here to talk

The North Saskatchewan River has swallowed its banks. It's muddy and black and more rain is expected.


Petulant. I feel petulant when someone tells me to do something that I don't want to do. Or worse, to stop doing something that I am enjoying.


Shawn is at a staff team building kind of event tonight, ironic since he's leaving the company. His absence means I am lounging about in flannel pants at 4:30 in the afternoon, eating take-out food, and planning to waste an evening in the bathtub. I may have two months of this ahead of me.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I'm yearning... I'm burning (all your stuff)

Cindy and Tracy and I played a lot of imagination games when we were small. So many of the games we played were imaginary that I'm certain we spent more time negotiating the details of the imaginary world in which we planned to play rather than actually playing in it. My memory of playing revolves entirely around these bargaining sessions - as I have no recollection whatsoever of the actual game.

I have a four poster bed with a canopy.

Okay and my room has a trap-door in the floor that leads to other rooms in the house.

Alright but it doesn't lead into MY room because my room has no holes in the floor.

But I have a way into your room too. And I have long hair down to my waist.

And I have longer hair down to my knees.

No you don't!

Yes I do.

Okay fine and I meant that my hair touches the floor.

My hair drags on the floor and has to be tied up to stop me from tripping.

No way! No one's hair can be that long.

Fine, but it's longer than yours.

No it isn't!

On and on like that. Deadlock was common. I remember the hair argument especially clearly because we brought the debate to a third party for a settlement: Cindy's mother. Cindy's mother said we were idiots to start with (since we all had short hair trimmed mercilessly by Mothers With Dull Scissors), and followed that up by adding that each of us could pretend our hair was the longest and there was no way for anyone else to prevent us from imagining hair longer than the other two. Then she lit a cigarette and told us to shoo.

The game did not resume after that resolution. There's something that Cindy's mother didn't understand, and maybe it's something that a lot of other people don't understand when they forget how imagination games work. If you imagine something by yourself it's only a little bit real. In order for it to transcend that gap and enter the world of willing-suspension-of-disbelief, everyone else has to pretend along with you. Everyone has to pretend the same thing in order to make it "real".

That's what I meant when I complained, I think. I wanted everyone else to believe the pretend-game. Even though I knew it was pretend, having everyone else pretend along with me made it easier to believe. Trying to play Imagination while someone stands in the corner smoking and saying, "Imagine whatever you want to - it don't matter to me," really ruins the game. It yanks you out of your thinly constructed reverie. The imaginary blows away on a puff of wind.

After the mourning it becomes possible to start over. Though I value my imagination and my ability to pretend - for many reasons - this time I am constructing things on solid ground. Reality. Then it doesn't matter if someone else doesn't believe - because no amount of denying reality makes it blow away. It stays right where it is. And then I don't have to convince anyone to play along with me. I can get to the heart of things instead of working out negotiations for the imaginary details.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

closed lips

These are pictures of where we are going to be living, just outside Vancouver, BC. We have agreed that we don't want to live downtown at all, and this means Shawn can ride the skytrain to work. He finished negotiating conditions on Friday and has given his current employer thirty days notice.

These are pictures of where we live now in the grasslands of Alberta where it's winter most of the time and it's so arid that you must drink seventy-six gallons of water every day just to stay alive. There are some nice things about the prairies too, though, like the beautiful great big sky and the canola fields in the summer, but somehow leaving here doesn't seem nearly so hard now that I've already left my first home. The hard part, of course, is going to be living apart again while things get settled here. I hope this time it won't be as long.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

get down

I'm supposed to be working on scripts right now and I can't seem to make myself do it. I just don't want to. I want to curl up on the couch and have a nap, perhaps, but it's not what I should be doing. I wonder if it would help to go for a little walk. Or jog. Or maybe just have another big cup of coffee. I need to wake up and get to work before the day is over. Sometimes working at home makes working nearly impossible.


Monday, June 04, 2007

people love cinnamon

Today as I was driving home from a vet appointment with Little Puppy a big cement truck threw a rock up at my windshield and cracked it. It didn't do the star thing that a rock chip usually does where you can quickly get it filled so it doesn't spread. It just instantly spread. Figures, doesn't it? I've never had that happen before, so it makes sense that the first time it should happen I should be driving a brand new vehicle.

I called the dealership when I got home to ask (dejectedly and already knowing the answer) if my warranty might cover a windshield since it was SO new and the receptionist told me no. She also suggested calling Honda Canada and asking for a "good will" gesture. I hate doing stuff like that and so I phoned Shawn instead hoping he would do my talking for me. He said I should call myself because it would be good assertiveness training. I hate being assertive. I am mousy by nature.

I called - and the woman I spoke to at Honda said she couldn't do anything either and that her best recommendation would be to speak to the service manager back at the dealership and gave me his name. I told Shawn it wasn't going to work since I'd already called the dealership and spoken to the receptionist. Shawn said to call again anyway and ask for the service manager by name. I hemmed and hawed, and finally did it.

The service manager said right off the bat that there was no way he could help me out and that the ease with which the windshield broke was a symptom of the vertical positioning of it and not because of a design flaw. I believe he is right about that, although I heard Bad Lisa in my head asking if the vertical positioning of the windshield itself was the design flaw. Instead I thanked him for his time and asked if he could quote me a price on a replacement windshield. For some reason that made him soften and he said he would talk to some people in the office and see if he could get me a discount on a replacement and then call me back.

He called back about a half hour later to tell me he was giving me $250 off the total price of a windshield with no charge for labour and no markup. The total he quoted was $440. I thanked him profusely.

Then he called back about twenty minutes later and told me the total was actually $400 so I would owe him only $150. I thanked him even more fervently and hung up to report my success to Shawn who said several wise things about how it was better to ask than to wonder and how being assertive paid and blah blah blah.

In another half hour, my new friend phoned again and told me that the price he'd quoted, $400, was actually the price of a windshield for a Honda CR-V and that my Element without markup or labour would actually only cost $219. He said, "So what I'm telling you is that I'm buying you a new windshield."

I decided it would be pushing my newfound assertiveness too far to ask him for a gift certificate for the extra $21.00.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

you're going to love that variable rate

The realtor took Shawn and his father and stepmom to look at houses yesterday. Shawn says that a new house in the suburbs under 3000 square feet is a rarity. To me this is shocking. Three thousand square feet. Why? I mean, if we had four children, yes. But that can't be the average family looking for a house these days, can it?

Our current home is just over 1700 square feet. And we don't really use all the space we have. There's a family room downstairs that we almost never sit in. And there's a third bedroom that is basically just a storage closet. We're living (comfortably) in about 1200 square feet, which is exactly how big our first place was. We haven't expanded to fill this space at all. So the idea of going even bigger seems ridiculous. Shawn says most of these 3000 square foot homes have finished basements, adding another thousand square feet of livable space.

To contrast the enormity of the houses, apparently, the yards are minuscule postage-stamp sized patches of grass. And, like here, the houses are built with only a few feet of space between them. I hate that.

We've agreed that this time we're going to look at slightly older houses instead of buying new again. New was lovely and sparkly and clean and fun. But this time we want something that just isn't being built anymore. A smaller home on a larger lot with a big yard and a little distance from our neighbours.

Never before have I thought of our home as being "small", but apparently, by these standards, we are living in a tiny house. I hope we can find a tiny house there. The thought of trying to clean 3000 square feet (+ basement!) makes me want to hang myself with the vacuum cord.


Last night I took the pups for a walk and got about twenty mosquito bites. Blegh. I also got harassed by a loud man and his three bouncy daughters who wanted to pet the dogs. The dogs were terrified and finally Capital E slipped his collar and headed for the highway. I had to chase him down after bellowing at the Noisy Family to quit chasing him with me and scaring him into running faster. The whole experience wasn't worth the mosquito bites I acquired. I hope I don't have malaria. Or West Nile virus.


Yesterday I mowed the lawn and last night it rained. I love that. The grass looks beautiful. I love our little push mower. After looking at heavy electric beasts and giant gas powered monsters, we finally decided on a sweet quiet little push mower that allows us to do grass cycling instead of putting the clippings in bags to be taken away on garbage day. The push mower makes a gentle clipping sound as it goes over the grass. It doesn't blow hot air in my face. It doesn't have a cord that needs to be avoided to keep from being electrocuted. It doesn't have a bag that needs emptying. The clippings just stay on the lawn and are composted back into the soil within days. I think I might be crazy - but I love mowing the lawn.


Shawn is coming home today! I am picking him up from the airport in about five hours. I have missed him very much.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

a three dog night

When Shawn is away the dogs are a source of comfort to me, and companionship. The little boys, who are now bigger than Little Puppy, are also a source of anxiety and frustration. They are puppies, of course, and therefore they like to chew, leap off furniture, chase each other, knock over lamps, yelp, bark and nip. Obedience school did wonders for them.

Little Puppy, on the other hand, is calm, sleepy and snuggly. She wants nothing more than to be loved and held. Forever. I am happy to oblige.

Shawn pointed out that it's going to be awfully difficult now for us, if we decide we want children. Having three dogs is a lot of work. He wonders how we would manage a baby. Another feeding schedule, more laundry, more mess, more work, less sleep.

I have to agree with him that we've set ourselves up to be exhausted. When I said I needed to wait until I had a full time job so I could get a proper maternity leave, one of the Somalian women told me that I must not wait for anything. She said that where it comes to children, you simply find a way to provide for them because you must and it has nothing to do with benefits and leave time and paperwork.

There is a story about an African family that was so poor the mother could scarcely afford to feed her eight children let alone herself. She fed her children rice and when they were finished eating she would scrape their clay bowls and eat whatever was left herself. When she had her ninth child she was asked how she could possibly do such a thing. How would there be anything left for her to eat now? The mother replied that now she would have more to eat because she would be scraping nine bowls instead of eight.

This approach to motherhood is one that I saw everywhere, people who felt so enriched by the experience of parenting their children that they did not feel any sense of poverty or sacrifice in spite of how little they had. They were not proud of their houses or cars or belongings. They were proud of their children.

I think if these woman can commonly manage nine children, then surely Shawn and I should be able to manage one - even with the three dogs.


Friday, June 01, 2007

This is what I've learned. This is how I've changed.

What I want in fantasies is not what I want in reality. What I want in reality is not what I crave in fantasies. I'm okay with that now. I love my fantasies. And I adore my reality.

This is what I've learned. This is how I've changed.


Setting free the bears

This is Wreck Beach in Vancouver, BC., most famous for the fact that it is a "clothing optional" beach. Apparently, tourists from all around the world come to Wreck Beach to try topless sunbathing for the first time. I can't imagine myself doing that knowing all I know about skin cancer, but I can certainly imagine going hiking on the rocky side of the beach. I can imagine running along the sand.

Shawn phoned and said the interview was for a position he didn't realise he was going to be considered for. It's a "global" position, which means that though he would be working out of the Vancouver office, his work would dictate policy and structure for all the satellite companies around the world and that he would have five local teams working under his direction. It's a prestigious position. He doesn't know when they'll get back to him with an answer but at this point what seems most important to me is that he knows he is successful. It's not about money or status. It's just about the fact that he can look at himself and know he is good at something that he cares about. Good enough to be interviewed by a world-class company for a high level position. Two years ago he didn't want to come to my staff Christmas party because he hated it when people asked him about his career.


you're a conscientious worker but you're spoiled

Before he left, Shawn sweetly took me through some of the things I might need to know while he was gone. Like where the fuse box is, how to turn the water off to the outside taps, and (hehe) how to attach the sprinkler to the hose. I think sometimes he forgets that I lived alone for years in the time Before. It's easy for me to forget it sometimes too. Those years are like a memory of a book I read long ago.

It turns out there was one thing he should have shown me how to do that he didn't, and that's how to operate our stupid new coffee machine. (I shouldn't call it stupid because it's so smart it can properly read this and will form a mob with the other small appliances and kill me.) It's weird to think that we've had this coffee maker for a couple of months at least and I have not once made coffee with it! Yet I have had coffee to drink from it almost every day. My husband takes such good care of me. I'm spoiled. Spoiled.

I struggled with the coffee maker a little bit and threatened it that if it didn't cooperate I would walk over to Second Cup and teach it a lesson. Finally it complied with my wishes.

While the coffee maker did what it was meant to do I went outside and attached the sprinkler to the hose (all by myself!) and turned it on. It's a wonder what I can accomplish without my Man here to protect me. But I want him here to protect me anyway.

Last night I slept in the middle of the bed the way I did when I was single, only this time I was flanked on all sides by dogs. I remember being small and telling my mother (defiantly) that when I grew up I was never going to get married and instead I would live in a big white house by the sea with lots of dogs. Slowly this dream may come true - all except the part where I don't get married. Of course there's room for improvement upon the original dream. For example, I never imagined the dogs would be small neurotic jumpy little creatures that moved like hummingbirds. I pictured something more like St. Bernards with big heavy paws, all furry and sedate and loyal. Whatever. The new dream is better - not nearly so lonely - and a little more mine.

Shawn's father is even more excited, if that's possible, at the possibility of us moving to Vancouver than Shawn is. He has already found us a real estate agent who has begun sending us house listings and photographs. I'm thinking that it's quite likely we'll be in the same situation we were in when we moved here in '05, of Shawn having to go first to start the new job right away while I have to stay behind to finish out a teaching contract and get the house ready to sell.

Last time I had to get the house ready to sell it meant I had to do everything by myself; the painting, the baseboards, the cupboard doors, the drywall holes, hold back the flood waters, etc etc etc... It was exhausting. I look around the house we're in now and see that we've never made this home ours. There are no nail holes in the walls to hide because all our pictures are still packed and wrapped in brown paper. There is no wild colour that needs to be painted over because everything is still the same neutral beige it was when we arrived. We have lived here very lightly - except for the pups who have peed on the carpet from time to time. Getting ready to sell will mean sitting here and waiting quietly.

It will be harder to live alone this time because I have changed since our last move. I have allowed myself to love Shawn and to depend on him more than ever before. It makes being without him much harder. And this isn't just about the coffee.

If Shawn moves to Vancouver first he will, again, have to find a house for us on his own. He did admirably well the last time and so I trust him with this completely. Over the years it seems our tastes have merged together and most of what we like is the same. It makes this process much easier. And what we want in our new home is the same once again. We want wood floors that will be easier to clean when the incorrigibles decide to defile them. We want a yard with a fence and grass for the incorrigibles to play outside. We want big windows to let in the light.

This morning my imagination is running away with me. I can hear the sprinkler pattering. It's cloudless today and warm already. The sky is so big on days like this when you stand outside it's like you could fall off the edge of the earth. I have missed the mountains so much in the last two years - and yet these great big skies have a majesty that I will undoubtedly miss.