Saturday, May 25, 2013

Learning to be hard working

Memorial day weekend is billed as a weekend to remember those who have served our country.  However, one trip to Home Depot will tell you it is actually national project-around-the-house weekend.

We have been TRYING to paint the exterior of our house for about a month now but it won't stop raining!  I am loosing my mind waiting to get it done so we can get our house on the market.  Today, despite the fact that it is supposed to rain all weekend, I insisted we start the prep work on the house.  I reason if we do that, the next time we have 2 rain free days in a row (which could be another week or more) all we have to do is slap the paint on the house.  The neighbors are used to seeing it look terrible, at least it will look terrible in a way that implies we might be planning to do something about it.  We were trying to hire someone to do it but at this point I don't think we are first in line to get painted and I cannot wait any longer.

That is my story and I am sticking to it.

My friend Jody who blogs at "even the sparrow" wrote a post this week about her work ethic, how she can't stop working and doing, projecting and accomplishing.  She needs to learn to sit and relax and let things go.  It was great and fun to read but I couldn't help but laugh.  I do not have this problem.  I never work too hard, push myself to far, nobody ever has to ask me to stop and relax, certainly not twice.  I wouldn't say I am lazy (well actually sometimes that is exactly what I say) but I rarely pursue extra work and am in no rush to get things done if no deadline is attached. However, knowing we have a lot to do I have determined to channel Jody this weekend and make it happen.

I went outside with my hubby and got started scraping the lower half of the house while he ran to Home Depot for a few supplies.  He wasn't back when I was done so I got up on the ladder and started working on the soffits which are where the peeling paint is really bad.  I kept working as he started taking down the storm windows and finding the putty for re-doing the windows.  But by the time I was 3/4 of the way around the house I was exhausted.  I went to sit down and watch him.  He was just running out of putty and preparing for his second trip to Home Depot.

We determined that cleaning up the paint scrapings needed to happen because he wasn't as convinced that the forecast from the local weather channel I was quoting was accurate and insisted it could rain at any moment. Sweeping up paint chips seemed much more doable than scraping paint over my head so I swept up the sidewalk and stoop.  Then I decided to pull all the weeds out of the garden next to the back door and then I pulled all the weeds from the vegetable garden I pretend to grow things in each year.  I thought this is what Jody would have done rather than sitting down and waiting for her husband to get back from Home Depot.  I was putting all my piles in the trash as he came home from the second Home Depot trip.  At this point I have been working in the yard for nearly 4 hours.

Now as John returns to glazing the windows I am asking myself, "What would Jody do?"  I am sure she would go and finish that last 1/4 of the scraping of the house and then grab the brushes and start washing the siding while the weather is still dry and the sun is still up.  I, on the other hand, want to pass out in a corner somewhere.

As I sit there watching John while wondering if I can ever move again I realize there is something else Jody is good at...taking pictures!  So I took a few to share with you.  Then maybe I will drink one more big glass of water and finish up the scraping.  And when I am laying on the couch in front of the tv tonight I can say to myself, "see, doesn't it feel good to lay around knowing the scraping of the house is done?"

The soffits were pretty bad.  I estimate the house hasn't been painted in 15-20 years.  Do not let your house get this bad!

Finally got all the weeds and last years dead stuff cleared up to enjoy the last days of my tulips.  

Random:  That towel hanging out of John's back pocket was a wedding gift.

This is the can where John puts the screws from the windows as he takes them down.  This makes me happy.

The front of the house where I have already scraped, the front isn't nearly as bad as the back.

From the ladder to the end of the house and then around the garage door.  That is basically all that is left.  I can do it!

While this spring has been a bit depressing with all the rain, I know it must be here because the back door is rarely shut now that the weather has warmed up.

This is my new gazebo free patio, not sure yet how to arrange the furniture.  Suggestions welcome.

What Isabelle is doing while we work outside. (she is holding our tablet, watching netflix)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Life is happening

I haven't posted in a while and I thought, just to keep everyone from leaving me, I would throw out an update on my life.  Because I know you just can't go on one more day without knowing what is happening in Melanie's life.

The big update is that Jake is home!  Done with his first year of college and hanging with us for a few months.

I had originally planned to drive down on Saturday, stay overnight so we could attend Church of the Resurrection with him, and head home.  Rez, as it is called, is the church where Jake has been attending and the church which planted our church.  They just moved into a new building and I wanted to see it.  But then I get a call that he has to be out of his dorm by Friday at 5pm.  Finals end on Thursday!  I guess they don't want any loitering once they are done with school.  So we were on the road by 7am on Friday and arrived with the boxes to pack up his stuff about an hour before he was scheduled to check out.  He was running the vacuum through his room 5 after his check out time which I felt was pretty good.  We laughed at how well the school set up his roommate situation because they were both still spread all over the room when we arrived.  Dual procrastinators.  We lit a fire under them and made it happen.  John managed to use every inch of space in the back of the truck to pack everything.  So tight nothing could possibly move.

Jake is not returning to Wheaton next year.  In fact he is not going back to school at all next year.  While I am sad to see him leave Wheaton I realize at this point in his life it is the right thing to do.  We are calling it a gap year although it has the potential to be less or more.  We are hoping to better define this gap year with him this summer but right now its purpose is a little vague.

I am not going to lie to you, I am having to swallow some pride here.  It is so much more fun to tell people your son is going to Wheaton than it is going to be to tell them he is not in school at all.  But this decision isn't about me, it is about Jake and the choices he is making.  His need to find his purpose and figure out what he wants and where he needs to be.

Isabelle setting up her space for the drive to Chicago.

Mid morning nap, we got her up pretty early.

The last picture of Jake with the sign.

Yep he was wearing that kilt when we arrived and all the way home.

We are enjoying having Jake around.  He starts the first of what will hopefully become 2 jobs on Monday so we called this week a vacation week for him and I tried not to be too bothered by the number of hours he spent watching YouTube videos.  So far he has been fun to have around.  Last summer was a bit stressful so we are all calling this summer a do over.

The house still isn't on the market but hopefully will be by the end of the week.  We were on our way to a spotless house a couple weeks ago but realized the carpet downstairs and the paint outside were both to a level beyond salvaging or overlooking.  So we threw it all on hold to re carpet and paint the exterior.  The new carpet comes on Monday morning.  The exterior is still up in the air.  We couldn't get it done last week when the weather was great and now it is supposed to rain half the week this week.  One way or another we will make it happen by next weekend and be on the market.  As I am watching the houses in our neighborhood I am confident it will be sold within 2 weeks, maybe less.

I have started mourning leaving our house in some ways but over and over I get confirmation that this is the right move for us.  The closer we get to selling and possibly moving into my parents house the more nervous I get about where our next house will be.  I love my parents and would like to still feel that way about them by the end of the summer.  A month or two sounds doable, 6 months would be a problem.  The houses in our price range are sort of all over the place and sell very quickly.  So likely our future home isn't on the market yet and won't be until potentially after we close on this house.  God is teaching me patience.

And just like it is more fun to tell people my son goes to Wheaton, it is more fun to tell people we live in a big house in an upper bracket community than I imagine it will be to tell them we live in a fixer upper in a bad neighborhood.  God is definitely working on my pride and humility this summer.

Several years ago, shortly after Isabelle was born, John took a desk job.  At the time his truck was on its last leg and so we started shopping for cars.  Since he was giving up his truck for a more practical car he wanted something fun to drive as a replacement.  He started looking at BMWs.  I humored him but was rolling my eyes wondering why I would buy a car 5-10 years older than anything else I could get in my price range with more miles.  Then he dragged me along for a test drive.  And I got it.  I still thought it was crazy and wouldn't buy one but at least I understood why he wanted one.  They are nice to drive.

As you may know, it is adventures in cheap cars at our house all the time.  Last fall went from 5 vehicles down to a reasonable 2.  Sold the broken plow truck, the plow truck that worked great, the work van and my mini van.  We bought an Envoy for John to drive around and I went into the 300M Jake had been driving.  With the extra money from the sales we did some maintenance on the 2 vehicles we had and kept about $600 to buy something for Jake to drive when he came home for the summer.  Being seasoned pros at buying cheap cars we figured we could buy something for $500 in the spring and sell it for $500 in the fall.  Just the cost of gas and insurance for the summer.

Of course ideas and implementation are two very different things.  So finding something for $500 that "runs and drives" was proving to be a little more challenging than we had anticipated.  We started looking up to $800.  John found a few worth looking at but nobody seemed in a rush to get back to him or have him out to look at the cars they had for sale. We were getting discouraged.  Finally Friday comes and Jake is planning to spend the weekend with a friend and then go to work Monday morning.  This would be impossible without a car because we each had separate plans as well.  So now we are on panic buy day.  But there, new listing on Friday, is a 5 speed, 96 BMW for $500.  John quickly calls, discovers 3 others are coming later in the day to look at it and goes running out the door with Jake in tow in an attempt to be the first one there.  They arrive, drive it, can't believe what a great deal the guy is selling it for and buy it.  Dream come true!  Jake  had wanted to learn to drive a manual, seems like a rite of passage when you are young, and John always tries to buy manuals when he buys new cars, he loves them.  So now, while Jake does get it for the summer, I suspect my car will be on the block in the fall and John will have the BMW he has been dreaming of for years.  Frankly, I have been trying to figure out how to get into the Envoy since we bought it so that works for me!

Super fun to drive
I am calling this car a love note from God.  As I look at houses in our price range I am essentially looking for a $500 car, they are out there but they aren't pretty, don't all run and drive and in general can be more discouraging than encouraging.  This little red BMW looks just like a beautiful valentine from God reassuring us that He is on the detail.  He will provide exceedingly, abundantly for us as we walk in obedience with Him.
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.  2 Cor 9:8
My word of the year is "Watch" and this past week I really saw God work.

She continues to be cute.  We are a month from finishing 2nd grade.  Life is good.

She always cracks me up.  Here are some pictures from mid April.  We were all desperate for a warm up.  So on this mid 30 degree day she was out barefoot.  It is good to be a kid.

I'm not cold.

These were here for several days after.  We thought it would never warm up and stop snowing in MN this year!
 Since the warm up finally arrived she has been outside quite a bit.  She learned to ride her bike in about 1 minute on Mother's day and has been riding up and down the alley ever since.  Life is good when you are a kid and nature is calling.

Me and John:
We continue to work hard figuring things out.  John completed his 4th semester with a 4.0 and will officially have a 2 year degree.  We are working on finalizing getting him into the University of Minnesota for the fall.  In the mean time we are both working hard trying to figure out how to make some money.  I have been doing a lot of training for my new real estate career and am itching to get out there and start making money.  John has a couple small projects lined up for the summer and is working on getting a job with an ER for the fall.  It is stressful some days but we are in it together and still excited to get up each morning and discover what God has for us.  "see I am doing a new thing!" 

It is a full life here but a good life. I am learning to appreciate the little moments and simply experience the life God has put before me.