Casa de Chaos

We're all mad here, ramblings from a mom of six.

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So this is Christmas

It’s been years since I’ve touched this blog, so much has happened and changed. Remy, who I was pregnant with in one of my last posts, just turned 4 today, and Rory, our youngest, will be 2 in January. In the time since my last post I’ve continued working for the post office, lost my brother to cancer, our home to fire, and had to rebuild our entire life from the ground up. I’ve lost friends, gained enemies, battled health issues both physical and mental. Jericho and I both came close to losing our jobs this year (he due to a shift being eliminated, me due to an accident that totaled my vehicle). I have my annual Battle with Bronchitis going on right now, and have had only a single day off since Thanksgiving. I am tired, and sick, worn out, but at least the monkeys are wonderful.

Really, they are all doing well, especially for kids who a little over a year ago fled their burning home in the middle of the night and watched from the car window as it burned down with everything they owned. They are kind, and sweet, and as well behaved as you can expect of kids with this much chaos in their lives. They’ve adjusted to our new home, new town, and new school far better than I have, but kids are resilient like that. They’ve made new friends, charmed the teachers, and made us proud and exasperated, in turn and as needed.

While they adjust well, part of me still cringes every time I go to the grocery store, afraid I’ll run into someone I went to school with. Part of me still cries when I drive out of town after work, out of the place that had been our home for over three years. I still work in the town we lived in, transferring would mean giving up my seniority, and I’ve got a sweet little auxiliary route, when I get to carry only it, that gives me about 30 hours of work a week and would normally let me drop the kids off at school and be done in time to pick them up.  Most of the time though, I’m finishing my route and then helping out somewhere else, or with something else, and Jericho has to get the kids.

But this is Christmas, and I work for the postal service, which means that I’m leaving some mornings before they wake, my husband having to get up and take them to school, and getting home some days after he has already left for work just to pay a sitter and fall right into the fray that is raising six children between ages 11 and almost 2.  Today I worked nine hours and drove over 130 miles on just packages. Gas would be killing us except thankfully prices are low right now. Every day I cringe a little in guilt at what the carbon footprint required to preform my job does to the environment.

Here at the house we’ve got a few decorations on the porch, and a few on the shelves, mostly things the kids have already broken, plastic light up ornaments that flicker when the switch is flipped. We were supposed to put up the tree tonight, but I think we are all too tired and it’s gotten to late. Maybe on Wednesday, the next evening Rico has off. We have an artificial tree and a box of ornaments gifted to us by a stranger on Facebook I befriended after bemoaning the loss of many of our ornaments not to the fire, but to thieves who broke into our shed and looted through our few remaining possessions in the week afterward.

Probably the ultimate sin is that I really haven’t purchased a single gift. I’ve scavenged things here and there, mostly second hand, but I haven’t done any real shopping. Barely a week remains, and I’m sitting here without any idea where I’m going to find the time or energy to get things done.

So this is Christmas this year at the new Casa de Chaos. Hopefully it improves before the real date gets here. Here’s one of my thrift store finds to decorate the new place, a 50 cent framed cross stitch someone put a lot of time, love, and attention into making way back in the 70’s. Ignore the words on the white board behind it, Sully has to memorize them for school.

Merry Christmas


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We all find ourselves doing it, walking through doorways and forgetting what we were doing, stopping in the middle of one task and starting another, then never completing either. It wasn’t as bad when I had one child, but with each additional child it’s turned from Mom ADD to occasional full-blown Momnesia. Momnesia is when you sit down to do one thing, and forget absolutely everything else because you are so tired. Luckily it’s rare, its cousin Mom ADD, however, is more insidious and has to be constantly guarded against.

Mom ADD is when you are loading the washing machine, so you can’t get your four year old gold fish crackers the very second he asks, breaking his heart and causing instant death by starvation even though breakfast was less than two hours ago. You tell him to go play and you’ll get them in a minute, and just then the baby starts crying. Not the “I’m lonely, is anyone there, come love me” cry, the “I am not going to stop until you meet my physical needs RIGHT NOW!” cry.  You drop everything and rush to your masters, er, babies demands, pick him up and change his diaper on the couch and are cuddling him when someone knocks at the door.  This is very upsetting, as people aren’t supposed to knock on your door, the lack of welcome mat and fifty bajillion children toys blocking your walk way serving as both proof and barricade.

It’s your sister, because she couldn’t get you on the phone (because your kids handily disassembled it into four separate pieces and scattered them through your house like keys to saving the universe) and wanted to know if you’re working the next day. While answering the door, the dog gets out, so you call her to heel while you talk and then put the dog on her runner, and when you walk back in the door realize now is a good time to fish out all those toys she has lost under the couch, while she’s not there to try to climb under the couch. The last time it almost cost you a vet visit and her a broken paw. Luckily you caught the couch on your shin and got away with only a massive bruise and a little bit of blood.

So you put the baby in the swing, grab a broom and flip over your couch to sweep under it only to realize there are SPIDERS under the couch where you and the kids nap. So you go get bug spray, and start spraying, which requires drying time and cleaning, and during that period you realize that the cover on the electrical outlet behind the couch is loose so you go grab your screw driver and tighten it up, and during this whole process realize the children have been hording their clothing under and in the couch and it’s cushions. There’s enough clothing to dress all the mannequins in the kids department of Target. So you grab a basket to get the clothes the kids put under the couch and between the cushions, flip and sweep under the other couch, and put the basket of laundry from under and in the couch cushions on the dining table. Then you clean the spider webs and bug spray out from under your couches, Lysol the couch, say a prayer for their little spidery souls, and flip the couches back over. Since you bought heavy duty furniture your six children hopefully cant destroy, you decide to count this as your work out for the day, and valiantly try not to sit it down too hard lest you wake your husband who is sleeping off another night on third shift.

As you put up the spray and the screw driver in their respective cabinets in the laundry room you realize you never started the washer, so you return to the living room and go to grab the basket of clothes off the dining table. As you are reaching for said basket you do a head count to make certain no one has climbed out a window or infiltrated the bedroom to wake their father,  only to see that the two year old has stripped off his diaper, and is prancing about, proud as a prince in his birthday suit. So you change him on the couch, right next to where you left the pile you’d just swept from under it, and start cleaning through the mess. In the pile are several toys, both of the dog and the children, a book you’ve been looking for for a week, socks that missed the first round of laundry pick up, and two forks. You try to figure out how they made it all the way from the dining table, and that reminds you that you never got the four year old the gold fish crackers he asked for and that you said you’d get him after you finished getting the laundry started. So you go get the goldfish crackers and start to give him a bowl at the dining table when realize the laundry from under the couch is still on the table and that you never started the washer. You take the forks to the sink and the laundry to the washer and FINALLY get that load of clothes started.

At which point you are so exhausted that you sit down and write all this up before turning around to go through the pile of dog toys, etc, that you swept out from under the couch, and figure out what else you have left half done. Except the timer goes off, it’s time to let the dog back in.

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MRSA, pregnancy, and lots of exhaustion.

Remember that nail I stepped on July 4th that caused me to miss my mothers wedding? Yeah, I contracted MRSA which is still infecting my foot, though I’m greatly recovered since I wound up in the hospital a few weeks ago. Since July 4th I’ve been on 9 rounds of antibiotics. And I’ve been keeping a secret from all but my most beloved and best, that I’m currently 30 weeks pregnant.

Reality is, for us it seems to be 2 steps forward, 1 step back. The house is a disaster, the constant illness has ran through all of my reserves and I have to take it easy in order to give my body what it needs to fight this infection and grow this baby at the same time. Our van suddenly and inexplicably died the other week (engine failure after it threw a rod out of no where), and my husband has been feeling the strain himself. Our eldest two started at their new school in August, and have kindly brought home not only a cough and stomach bug, but Strep which turned into a family wide epidemic and lead to Scarlet Fever. Only Jericho was spared.,

Then his second job decided to cut his hours completely. He’s still technically employed, but they’ve given no one but management more than 8 hours a week. It’s aggravating enough to have to maintain two jobs to get near 40 hours a week, but having to maintain 3 jobs to do so is ridiculous. We’re scrapping by, barely, but it’s a tight and tough thing. My continued illness and pregnancy have made finding work all but impossible, as I can’t stand for more than an hour or two without extreme pain and exhaustion. While he picks up as much freelance art and graphic design work as he can, many people seem to think “exposure” is a viable payment option, so we’re living on the income of just one job most of the time.

Next week we’re dropping money on an exterminator, as our landlords efforts to eradicate the pest problem before we moved in were ineffective at best, but hopefully this will resolve many of our issues and eliminate a main source of stress. It’s a costly but necessary move. This means breaking down the entire house and getting it completely stowed away and spotless. Obviously, this is not going to be an easy task when I can barely maintain the daily standards, let alone heavy duty in depth cleaning and decluttering. On that note, why do schools send home so many papers? I swear I’m throwing away 8 sheets of paper a day that the boys come home with.

So that’s us for now. I’m going to use this blog as a place to post our detailed cleaning list for now so that I have something to go off of to stay on task.

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Yes, we’re still alive!

So, the move at the end of May, beginning of June went tremendously rough, and we’ve run into more problems than we anticipated. Mainly, we were supposed to have 10 people, 5 trucks, and 3 trailers to move with, and wound up with our van, our father in laws 20 foot trailer and truck, and just my husband, myself, and my 60 year old father in law. Everyone else bailed on us. Moving became a 3 day nightmare only saved by a friend who could not physically help us move renting us a 26 foot UHaul to finish the move with. We were away from our kids for two days, exhausted, and ready to just give up by the time Rico and I finished the move.

In the new house we’ve run into even more problems.  We knew that except for getting more space this wasn’t going to be a “move up”, hence the reason I titled this blog “Moving Sideways”. We knew we’d be in pretty much the same boat, and have to build the house up from here. That doesn’t make the plethora of problems we’ve encountered any easier to deal with.

The floors, which we hoped could be made decent with some cleaning and elbow grease, were apparently not cleaned in the entire 14 years the previous tenants lived here. The bathtub was in similar shape, as it took four cans of scrubbing bubbles, an entire box of steel wool pads and an entire box of magic erasers to make it decent. We are fighting an insect infestation they left behind and they were ever so kind as to lock a rat in the cellar, which we had to trap and kill. I also killed a baby copperhead on our front steps the first night here.

The water heater and home heating we were promised were electric (and did not know well enough to check) turned out to be gas, which we hate, and we were without hot water for a month as a result. We have pulled over TWO HUNDRED random nails from the walls, and I stepped on a nail the other day causing me to miss my mothers wedding and have to go to the hospital for removal, as it was wedged between my foot bones. We also found that the toilet is not properly installed and will have to be repaired, that the current owner (we’re in a lease to purchase agreement as the home won’t currently qualify for a mortgage) is resistant to the improvements we feel are urgent (like replacing his half assed hodge podge plumbing).

The previous occupants destroyed all the floors, trashed out all the closets before leaving, and left the hose to their ice maker leaking onto the kitchen floor when they left, as well as apparently never cleaning up any spills in there, making replacing the subfloor and flooring a necessity in the near future.

In other words, we’re in for a lot of cost and work.

The owner is getting an electrician in to “do some work” but honestly, we disagree vehemently on what needs doing. He wants to do cheap “patchwork” while we’d rather wait for investment quality work that we can go half in on. Immediate concern is the rats nest of wiring coming out of the ancient fuse box, as the previous tenants ran their own wiring off the box to where they wanted it (not up to code either).

There is so much we want to do to this house, so much that needs doing, it’s not even funny, and since I don’t have tons of money to plow into it right now I’m just sitting here frustrated.

On my want/need/dream list, some of the items include:

Floors, cover with laminate wood flooring since we’d be pulling and trying to match wood in many places to save the original floors.

Rip out and replace sub floor in kitchen, check subfloor in bathroom.

Add a door between the living room and family room. Seriously, I can only get to the “Main” front door by going through the kitchen. The Family Room is the door we use (there are two doors, less than 3 feet apart on the front porch), and we’d like to have a door from the living room to the family room, and remove the front door that leads into the family room. Ideally, I’d relocate either the door to the kitchen or front door to the opposite side so they are straight across the room from each other instead of in opposite sides of the room.

WINDOWS! All the windows in this house are original, which would be lovely if they they had any sort of insulating effect, weren’t cracked, and were not painted and nailed shut. Seriously. New windows are in the Top Five List.

Redo all the plumbing. My husband used to work as a plumbers assistant, #2 brother in law is a grand master plumber, father in law and BIL’s #1 and 4 work for him, and brother in law #3 used to work with them. While I know they will want paying, since we’ll be able to do a lot ourselves and just need BIL #2 to get the permits and supervise, we should be able to save a ton. Plus that cast iron and the copper piping have to be worth something, right? Seriously, this place is running and draining on a mixture of cast, copper, PVC, and pecs. Rico says he’s never seen such a mess, but the owner is of the “well it works, so don’t mess with it” opinion. Yes, it works, for now, barely, but why wouldn’t we want to make a reasonable upgrade to the system, especially if it means I won’t hear the kitchen and bathroom sinks burbling every time the bathtub drains. If I could get an electric tankless water heater in the mix, that’d be great too.

Update: We heard a crash and a baby cry yesterday evening about 8pm. The bathroom sink cabinet had collapsed on our littlest monkey, who was thankfully saved more than a few scrapes by his push and ride Thomas the Tank Engine bearing the brunt of the weight and damage. When they plumbed the bathroom sink they apparently only put a cut off on the cold water, not the hot, so I have a half attached sink with no cabinet sitting on my bathroom floor, as the cabinet was falling completely apart. Joy. I’m just glad the Littlest Monkey in Casa de Chaos is okay.

Rewiring. Seriously, this place needs a new, safe fuse box, and if we have to do complete room rewiring, I’m okay with that. We’ll save up and get it done, Better not to waste money on a half assed attempt now when we’re going to just turn around in a year or so and pay to do it right.

New AC/Heat unit! Got our first bill, and I’m SO glad we’re on the averaged monthly plan. We used over $500 dollars of electricity last month, over half of that (according to the electric company) on the ancient “I’ll keep patching it” unit that was put in in 1991. We’re keeping the house at 82 degrees now, instead of 78, in hopes it will help, and have fans everywhere.

Uncover all 4 fireplaces, and rip out two of them. Seriously, in the 1970’s the mill sold all the houses around here, except  this one, which they turned into their Personnel office. They proceeded to redo all but one room in wood panels (barf) and to cover up and close in all the fire places. the owner purchased it for 10K in 1991. We’re okay with keeping the adjoining fireplaces in the living room and family room. Not so much the ones hidden between the bathroom/kitchen wall (eating into valuable real estate!) and between the master bedroom and our kids room. The new square footage would allow us to put in a new master closet and convert the old closet (with some slight space theft from our daughter’s closet) into a half bath.

Ideally we’d rip out the bathroom completely down to the studs and redo it, when we redid the plumbing, and I’d move the door from the hall to the kitchen to be centered on the room giving me a wide galley set up (right now it’s to the right side, with an odd half wall about 4 feet in next to the stove). That and the added space from removing the fireplace would make it so much more functional and convenient. I’d have to buy more cabinets (and replace the hideous wood paneling) but that would be okay (unless I went european and moved my washer/dryer under a counter top in the kitchen).

Sand the walls in my daughters room! They applied a horrible textured pain onto the walls in what is going to be my daughters room. They also painted it blood red with black trim. It’s horrible. HORRIBLE. I can’t walk in the room without scraping myself on the disgusting textured walls. That’s probably going to be one of the more affordable projects>

So so much to do, so little money or resources! Wish us luck as we try to get everything sorted and done!


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Setbacks, Setbacks, and more Setbacks.

So as if the stomach bug from a certain hot spot wasn’t enough, we’ve run into more setbacks. I haven’t been feeling well since the beginning of the month, but put it down to, well, female things, then that stomach bug, and then to just being worn out and stressed. I kept ignoring a pain in my side that would get worse when I was active and receded, some, occasionally, when I rested. My husband had been nagging me to go to the doctor, but that would require schedule wrangling, money, and a trip to the ER since I knew they’d want some sort of imaging to figure out what was going on, and I hate going to the ER. Besides the enormous bill and the germs, our local ER and I have a bad history of them mostly not providing quality care or information. Add in the construction they are currently doing, and do you blame me for deciding that I preferred debilitating pain to an ER visit?

That was until last Wednesday, when I almost hit the floor in the dairy section of the grocery store, scaring my 3 year old daughter and 17 month old son in the process, and getting strange looks from fellow shoppers as I made my way to the check out line with tears streaming down my face. I went from trying to decide what kind of cheese to get, to clinging to consciousness and my cart to stay upright as pain in my side suddenly exploded. I’d been worried I was going to “overdo it” that day, having knocked out a couple of loads of laundry and loaded and unloaded the babies by myself at the farmers market. For a change I had halfway listened to the nagging voice that said, “you need to watch it!” and had gone to the more expensive grocery store near my house instead of the big box super store halfway across town. We managed to get loaded up, home, and unloaded due to our wonderful and helpful front neighbor who saw me struggling to get into the house and helped me load everything onto my double stroller so we wouldn’t have to carry it (God Bless you Mrs. B!).

Even then, I was being too stubborn to just wake Jericho and demand he take me to the ER like he’d been pushing for, since it was only an hour until the boys got out of school and i was convinced it “wouldn’t’ be fair” to abandon him to having to load, unload, and reload all 4 kids by himself, something he goes to astronomical lengths to avoid. So I put on a brave face and went to get the boys, then came home and prepared a plan to get to and from the ER, have someone watch the kids if it took until Rico had to go to work, had an argument with my husband and drove myself to the hospital. Yes, I know that was dangerous, but in my defense the pain wasn’t/isn’t as bad when I’m sitting down, so it was reasonably safe.

Seven and a half hours of uncomfortable poking, prodding, ultrasounds, and being shuffled around, not to mention a brief stay in the room across from where the police put the patients they bring in and all that yelling and cussing, then being  moved to the temporary “internal waiting room” with 8 other sick and hurting strangers, many of whom unfortunately thought “Jerry Springer” was quality entertainment, I was finally diagnosed with a ping pong ball sized cyst on my left ovary, given a prescription for pain pills, and sent on my way. My awesome father in law was with my kids, having come over when he got off work at 11:30 so Rico could go into work at 12:30, and I made it home at almost 1. He saw me in, fussed at me, watched the end of Desolation of Smaug, told me to call if I needed anything, and left. I have awesome in laws, just so you know.

Jericho has been awesome, the kids don’t quite understand, but the medicine doesn’t take away the pain, it just makes me apathetic and paranoid, and I only take it at night before going to sleep. If it’s not resolved in a month I’m supposed to go see my OB/GYN. Mostly I can get a good 30 minutes of work about 4 times a day, and part of that includes meal prep and child care  from anywhere but the couch or bed. My instructions include rest and having another adult help out, not an option with Jericho having to work, my mothers health, and his parents working, and me just not wanting people in my home. If someone wanted to volunteer a soccer team or something to come in and clean my house, I’d appreciate it, but since that isn’t happening life is at a standstill pretty much. Then Jericho jammed his knee at work and is on light duty (even carrying the Littlest Monkey kills his knee) so we’re sort of living in a messy home that’s making us both irritable and antsy.

The pain and pressure in my side is making me nauseous and bloated, as it’s releasing some fluid into my abdomen. Supposedly my body should absorb it all on its own, and I’ll get better, it’s just a wait and see game. In the meanwhile though, we’re stuck with what feel like constant setbacks.

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I’m not dead, I just feel like it

So the past week or so packing/organizing at Casa de Chaos has ground to a halt. In part it was due to unfulfilled promises to do the dishes pitch in around the house, and in part it has been due to our current role as plague rats.  Yes, everyone in Casa de Chaos is sick, and not just the sniffles and runny noses (though we have those too, Thanks Allergies). We all have the stomach bug that’s been sweeping our town, except we’re so lucky we didn’t just get it once, but twice! Two weeks ago Rico and I were both struck with persistent stomach problems that made us really glad we have two bathrooms, and half the monkey population soon followed. We felt mildly better, but Monday the Eldest Monkey was sent home sick. Tuesday morning he and the Second Banana both woke us with white, gooey, projectile vomit, and missed a day of school. Having dealt with this before right before and after Little Miss Monkey was born, and a  couple of times since, we were ready for the worst, but Wednesday they were back to their normal selves and we thought we had dodged a bullet. Wrong.

Little Miss Monkey waited until Rico had the night off to start her Exorcist impressions, and completely unable to deal with vomit, he woke me from a secure slumber to remove couch cushion covers to wash while he cowered in the corner and I held Miss Monkeys hair back. The poor baby was so sick (and still is) that she had to sadly revert back to pull ups and spent two nights (the time the vomiting is worst) sleeping on a pallet in the bathroom floor. Being the awesome mother that I am, I slept right next to her, just across the doorframe in my bedroom floor. That was Thursday. Friday brought about a resumption of symptoms for Rico and I, and later that night the Littlest Monkey was struck low too. Seriously, at this point I have to buy stock in Desitin, because we’re going through so much. Through out all of this, no one has run a fever at all. Seriously. Little Miss monkey hit 99 degrees once, otherwise they are all normal, just feeling like crap.

Rico has been working despite being sick, but is not much help in the kid department (though he’s kept the handheld devices charged so when kids are bedridden they can still be entertained). The monkeys are on on the mend to some degree, acting like they are feeling better, and the flow of undesirable material from bodies and into toilets is slowing. But this Mama Monkey, I am beat. Like, I’m behind on the laundry, again, and exhausted. The dishes haven’t been completely done since this sickness began, and my house is starting to drive me crazier than usual.

On the bright side, I’ve been able to read a ton of blogs that have me really excited about our move. The hardest part is going to be figuring out how to prioritize our improvements. The Handmade Home  has lots of great crafts, designs, and ideas, I highly recommend it. Also, Virigina over at has done an awesome job renovating her 1970’s home. Check her out for ideas and inspiration, or if you’re just a renovation junkie like me.

In my own home, I’ve come to realize there are three areas that I alone am going to get under control to ease the Chaos a little. One is Laundry, and as soon as I’m better we’re going to go on a big purge and also find a new way to store things. The second is paperwork. Most of our clutter is paperwork, and it’s just got to get under control. The third is the dishes. Rico’s been swearing he’d pick up the difference there, since doing the dishes is the fastest way to make my back seize up and leave me unable to walk (part of being 6 feet tall and having been in two major car accidents). That hasn’t happened yet, which mean I’m going to have to bite the bullet (and some ibuprofen) and get us caught back up again. Wish me luck.

All in all, I feel like death warmed over right now, and the only times I remember feeling worse were after my car accidents and when I had the killer flu back in 2011. Seriously, just writing this has worn me completely out. I think I’m gonna take my cup of tea and go lay back down.

Hope you don’t catch this bug, and have a great week if you’re out there reading.

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Why we want to move.

Skipped a few days, and I’ll catch you up on why later, but this is one I was working on before, and I had some more thoughts on it.

Moving isn’t something people go into lightly, but in our case, it’s something we’ve been trying to do for the last 3 years, so when we heard about the house on Spring Street, we were ready to jump at the chance, even if it was taking us out of the small city that we love. Over the years we had a series of rentals, almost completed a Lease to Own before the economy collapsed in ’08 and we lost everything, and then rented one house we loved that unfortunately was not in good repair. Through out all of that we had various of my husbands brothers stay with us, and lots of long commutes. Finally settled on an apartment to get us into the town we wanted, where we worked at the time. So why are we willing to leave the city that feels like home to move to a small, economically depressed town? What could be so bad where we are currently that we’re willing to add an hour and a half round trip commute to our day?

The reality is, cost is a huge factor. Housing in our city is not cheap, and we couldn’t find anything decent in our price range that we could get a loan for. Buying the house on Springs Street will cost us us 40% less than our current rent, and is only 1/3 of renting a comparable house in a similar neighborhood in our city. Even with the commute costs, that’s still a huge savings. We realize when we’re ready to move on we probably won’t be able to make much off the house because of where it is (Not many people want to move to the small town it’s in,) but we’re looking at it as saving money now towards the future by cutting our costs and saving our sanity. It will need work, but it’s better than staying unhappy in the apartment where we are.

You see, we’ve wanted to move for a while, as within a year of moving into our apartment we realized that, while the proximity to work was lovely, we are not Apartment People. We miss having a yard, we miss being able to park near the door, we miss the quiet that comes from not having people on three sides of you or above you or living in the same block of anonymous building. Jericho is originally from rural Upstate New York, though when his parents moved South they also became “town folks”. Growing up a cops kid though, he came to appreciate space, as in the small town we’re both from (I went to school there) it was too easy to run into people who were angry at him because his dad had arrested their dad/mom/brother/sister/aunt/uncle/girlfriend. Not being close to people makes him feel safer, as he can “see them coming”.

Until we married, I’d spent all my life on the remnants of my families several hundred acre farm. I’m a country girl, and I grew up hearing the birds and beasts and being able to see the Milky Way at night. Before my dad died we kept livestock, but mostly he farmed cotton. Being this close to so many people feels claustrophobic to us, and while over out three year stay we’ve adjusted fairly well, we really long for a yard of our own and four walls that don’t touch anyone elses.

We also are desperate to move because of space. We’ve got six people in a little over 1100 square feet, and while the fact that four of them are age six and under, it still feels cramped with everyone’s belongings. Also, this is the worst lay out I’ve ever encountered in an apartment or home. Ever. We have a laundry room that has no storage (and we’re not allowed to add any) and takes up way too much space smack dab in the middle, prime real estate that could be better used another way. Like making the den into a third bedroom. Or an office, or a million other things. I HATE wasted space. Hate it, despise it, choose your strongest adjective. So the lay out of this place drives me nuts. The bedrooms have no real place to put the furniture, as each room has a closet on one side, a door on the other, a bathroom door on the other, and oddly spaced windows. Trying to make this place work is an exercise in futility. It’s also WAY overpriced.

Another reason we want to move, and a big one, is safety. The main road off our complex is a six lane with median, and it is very dangerous. I almost died last August getting out of our complex, and have a weeks worth of hospital bills to prove it (ICU costs more for one day than a week stay in a luxury beach condo). Then in November and December two seperate incendents brought crime into our apartment complex, and at one point we seriously considered breaking our lease and paying the fees. When we moved in we were told there were three police officers living here, and that it was an “exceptionally safe area”. Last year a new company bought the complex, and will let in anyone who can pay .

We’re also tired of bland, tired of boring. We want to explore our DIY side (Well, I do, Jericho is willing to be dragged along and his dad is practically giddy for us and talking about loaning me tools and time). and make something our own. I haven’t been able to garden in YEARS, and I can’t wait to get down in the dirt and start planting and gardening and growing. I’ve already got plans for a barrel composter, potato barrels, and raised plant  beds. Tomatoes in the front flower beds are a must for any good Southern Lady. Daylilies by the driveway and front walk, we’ve already priced fencing in the yard, a swing bench, lawn mowers, and I bought a stroller specifically for hauling the kids down to the park (one house down!) and to the YMCA (half a mile away!).

We’re excited for the move, eager to go ahead and get started on the next phase of our life. I know the two weeks overlap are going to be super busy as I will be trying to accomplish as much as possible in the shortest amount of time while juggling all four kids, Jericho’s two jobs, and getting the boys back and forth to school (and my kids don’t ride the bus, every parent who can in the neighborhood drives their kids because the ones who ride the bus are the neighborhood trouble makers).

I can’t wait to get started and get our new life started!