Moving Articles

Spring Broken at Spring Break

04.5.11

Last week was our first week of spring break. I love having my kids home. I love watching them play, hanging out with them for hours with no schedule. I love just being with them. The first week of spring break was fabulous.

This second week is going to break me.

I was up at seven this morning and I had to get reasonably cute so that I could tape for Momversation. Then I had to tape again, in the meantime the kids were making themselves breakfast and somehwhat destroying the house. They seem totally incapable of rinsing their own cereal bowls, which is not that much of an issue now that I have a new dishwasher, but it is an issue because Sparky the hired assassin will jump on the counter, lick the bowl clean and promptly throw up.

Which is disgusting, but not nearly as disgusting as when Junior comes loping around the corner for the delicacy known as cat vomit. This is all before 10am.

By 10am Alexander’s friend has come over to play, they are undecided if they want to be inside or out. This can only mean they leave the sliding door to the back yard open 800 times, and I’m constantly yelling, “there are bugs coming in.” And now I’m that yelling mom and Alexander turns into that kid who ignores the mom who always yells and I’m not living the life I want to live.

We leave the house at quarter to twelve, well, we leave three times actually because we keep getting to the corner and remembering what we forgot. We drop Jane off at volleyball practice where the girls are happy to see each other, except a few who can’t get along. I feel for the coach.

The two boys and I run to the bank and then to two open houses. Remember the move? One is a mistake because I’m too frazzled to bother using the navigation so I’m all buggy with my realtor but in reality I’m two blocks away from the house I’m supposed to be at. I pull up to the house that Doug recommended I see, get out of the car and start to walk up the hilly driveway. I realize I don’t want to walk up a hilly driveway today or any other day. I skip looking at the house.

The boys want Subway for lunch and since it’s a playdate I agree to take them there, but we pass Carneys on the way. They want to eat in that godforsaken train. Defeated before I begin, I say yes, and one has two hamburgers, one has two hot dogs, and they each have an order of fries. They ask me for thirds but I tell them they aren’t hungry. They believe me, and I pray that I’m not starving them but instead putting off an eating contest where one is bound to vomit, like the cat.

We race from Carneys to the park where Alexander has a pitching lesson, the friend and I drop him off and run back to fetch Jane from volleyball, it’s been two hours. From volleyball we see another house and I think I like it. I don’t love it because I see flaws, but I see flaws in everything. The bones are good, it’s a U Shaped house with nice floors and new kitchens and bathrooms. They’re pretty, but they’ll look dated in 10 years. They’ll be like my mother’s avocado refrigerator in 1982. My realtor tells me I look good. I thank him and silently congratulate myself on finding a realtor who compliments me.

We leave the house, and run to Alexander, it’s been almost an hour, his pitching lesson should be over. Alexander hops in the car and the kids start arguing. It’s an old argument. Alexander things the Ferrari Enzo is an instant classic. Jane thinks it will be passe by the time Alexander is allowed to drive. I drive humming along to the horrible music they’ve forced me to endure on Hits 1. Pink tells me that I’m Fucking Perfect and a tiny part of me actually believes her.

3pm. All that activity puts me at 3pm.

I miss school, I don’t work this hard when they’re in school.

 

Moving

04.1.11

I’ve been looking for a new house for more than four months now. I know what I want. I want a larger lot, a smaller house, a pool, good floors and a walking neighborhood. I want to spend almost exactly as much as we sell this house for.

What I have is a bigger home. I have five bedrooms, four full bathrooms and vaulted ceilings. We need none of it. We thought we needed a playroom, we thought we needed a formal dining room, we thought we needed a toilet for every ass, but the reality is that the kids are bigger now and they spend less time indoors with every passing day.

Every time I find a house I like Mr G thinks it’s too small. The houses he likes are too big for my taste. We are both unwilling to stretch our budget there is no need to go into debt.

Last night while we were busy not touching strangers I put it all out there for Mr G. I explained to him that I wanted to pick a window of time where we’d continue our hunt and if we didn’t find something inside of say 15 to 20 weeks we’d go ahead and refinance the house we’re in down to a 15 year loan, put some nice hardwood floors in downstairs and decide that this is the house we’re going to die in. The other option is to expand our search and possibly buy a house that needs a remodel. I told Mr G that this was not the best option and that I had limited energy for a remodel and that I would not buy anything with two stories because of my RA and…

His eyes lit up and he said, “Let’s do that.”

I know the look, and I know we’ll be buying a dump and making it ours, because there’s nothing Mr G loves more than new construction.

I. Am. Fucked.

 

Mom Will Decide How Jewish We Are

09.2.10

Last night we sat at Art’s Deli (see how Jewish we are), and talked about our family schedule for next week. The kids have their first day of school on Wednesday, but Thursday is Rosh Hashana. My husband, Jane and Alexander all groaned in chorus.

“Do we have to stay home that day?” My husband asked.

Notice that no one asked if we had to go to shul. We’re not good with shul (Temple). We haven’t belonged to one in the last few years. The one we left simply wasn’t a good fit, and with the exception of Chabad the rest of them feel like a country club. You join, you pay, and maybe you network. Nothing about them felt particularly necessary to me, and my husband specializes in irreverence.

“We don’t have to stay home that day, we can go to Temple. The kids can go with Grandpa…”

And then there was more moaning. It’s the second day of school. They don’t want to fall behind before school starts. Alexander wants to organize his desk. The kids were understandably nervous about missing the second day of school.

And at that moment I wanted to cry. I felt like the ground was falling out from under me. We’ve not embraced the Jewish schools for a number of reasons academic and social. But at that one horrible moment, I thought, “Shit. This isn’t fair to my kids.”

My kids are in a Xtian school. It’s not Catholic, and it’s not *technically* parochial, but it’s on a church property, and they say benedictions and Lord’s Prayers, and things like that. To their credit they also sing John Lenon’s Imagine, so I’m not feeling like holy rollers are out to convert my kids, but it’s definitely not a setting for observant Jews. Dinner last night reminded me that we are not Observant Jews, and I feel badly about that fact.

My father is an observant Jew. My mother bought a house at a seance (not kidding). I’m comfortable in a conservative temple, but I’m not interested in joining one. My husband hates it, and frankly it’s too late for my kids. They don’t like it.

We’re not Kosher, we don’t observe Shabbat, and Jane will not be having a Bat Mitzvah.

I however felt the world close in on me when my husband said, “Mom will decide how Jewish we are.” And it was somehow a decision to be made. Do I honor Jane and Alexander’s desire to be in school? The guilt is extraordinary (waving hello to my Catholic friends). Rosh Hashana has always felt like the least moving of all Jewish holidays. I dislike having to purchase a ticket. It makes me feel like I’m off to a tent revival.

However, a small part of me wants my kids to have the experience. They’re growing up in a secular home, with a father who told them that there is no G-d, but who plays along with the Tooth Fairy.

To be very clear, I’m not necessarily in disagreement with my husband. I don’t really want to go to services next week, my kids don’t really want to go, but it’s a shanda for the goyim.

So I’m still deciding how Jewish we are. And I’m very hopeful that we can find a house in Beverly Hills soon so that my kids can go to a good public school that is closed on Jewish Holidays.

The Yard Sale: Where Mr G (once again) Flirts With Death

06.26.10

In preparation for The Move (capitalized because it is now a part of our family) I am throwing out everything that’s not mine purging the house of unnecessary items. This means it’s Yard Sale time.

I spent some time last night tagging piles of clothing, shoes and electronics, and then put up some signs around the neighborhood. I posted an ad on Craigslist, and set my alarm clock for 6.45am on a Saturday morning.

At 7.30 this morning I started hauling things out onto the driveway, and at 8am I opened the gates, and got told that my prices were too high, and then they paid my prices. Which is annoying, but reminds me of my time on the car lot. I loved it when people told me the car was priced wrong, and I could agree with them, but then slam the money right back into the deal. It happens every day.

Naturally Mr. G. had something to say.

MR G: How was your yard sale?

ME: Pretty good, I made $400 in four hours.

MR G: If you wanted $400 I could have given it to you.

Which would have been really annoying, like supremely annoying had I not “spent” $400 of his on this video.

Mr. Gottlieb: Crusher of Dreams

06.22.10

I know I spend a lot of time telling y’all how my husband is a great father, a generous husband, and really good man.

I don’t spend enough time telling you how Mr. G. is narrow minded and cruel. What you don’t know is that he is a dream killer. Not just any old dreams, but my dreams. You know… the dreams that matter.

As our 13th anniversary approaches, I had one simple request. I wanted him to buy me a $1.2 million fixer upper. It’s not enough that he got ridiculous and sensible and denied me himself a Porsche (we only have a Jaguar now), but on top of all the other deprivations, my husband will not buy me the fixer upper.

Because he feels like it’s too expensive for a house that has a giant pipe poking through and into the Olympic Sized Swimming Pool.

I am deeply deprived.

Moving: Living Well Within Our Means

06.21.10

This morning I looked at a house. Tomorrow morning Mr. G. will tour the very same house. We will likely make an offer on it.

I might pee the bed tonight, and I’m not kidding.

This is our third house. It’s a big house, it’s a dramatic house, and it’s a great family house, but it’s not my dream house. The night before we moved here I almost wet the bed. I was 35.

My daughter was born during the first week of November in 1998. When she and I returned home from the hospital the weekend immediately after was Veteran’s Day Weekend. A three day holiday. The Friday before the weekend began our toilet plugged up, and I called the apartment manger.

ME: Hi there, our toilet seems to be backed up. Could you call a plumber?

MANAGER: I can come over with a plunger, but I can’t call a plumber until Tuesday, it’s a long weekend and this isn’t an emergency.

ME: How is a backed up toilet not an emergency?

MANAGER: You live in a two bathroom apartment. So long as you have a working toilet, this isn’t considered an emergency.

Five weeks later, my stitches had healed, and we bought our first house. The house was tiny, but I loved it. We were in Van Nuys, because it’s what we could afford. Jane learned to crawl and to walk in that house. We didn’t love the neighborhood. It was safe, but the car dealers would test drive up and down our street. I petitioned the city for speed humps, and got them, a year after we sold the house.

We lived in that tiny house for a year and half. After bumping into one another like keystone cops one too many times, we decided it was time to move. Our next house was a three bedroom, two bath. It wasn’t quite tiny, but at 1,800 square feet it wasn’t huge. The back garden was huge, and the kids and I tended to it like crazy. I had nine foot borders that overflowed with geranium, roses, fruit trees and jasmine. The house was a fixer upper to be sure. When we bought it there was a jacuzzi in the back yard that was full of black water, and had so many mosquitoes in it that it resembled an anthill. We took eleven trees out of the front yard, and it was still shady, but the most important tree that we removed was the one growing through the roof. The flooring and sub flooring had to be replaced, because the previous tenant had a Great Dane that peed in the living room.

With both the first and second houses we bought what we could afford. We bought the cheapest houses is the best neighborhoods. We sold each of them for a nice profit. I worked day and night to make those houses gleam. I purged the houses of everything but the basics, set the table, and fluffed the linens. We got good money for those houses, and we were tired.

The third house (the one we are currently looking to sell) was back to back with our last house. It was a big, ugly smelly house, that had been twice reduced after sitting on the market for ninety days (in the height of the housing frenzy), even though it was uglier than the rest, this house required less work than the others. Fresh paint, carpets and plantation shutters gave a clean, almost regal look. We were very happy here for several years.

And then we wanted a pool. (more…)