Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Money Pit

A few years back, I will not say when exactly as that may really put me in the “empty nest” age-bracket, there was a movie with Tom Hanks and Shelly Long called The Money Pit. Do you remember?? It was truly one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. For my dear “30 something” friends who may not have seen this, you may want to consider renting it for your VCR….ummmm….DVD……ummmm…..Blue Jay, or what ever the heck the new contraption is called (note to my kids….I really know what it’s called, I am not senile yet….just a bit of humor here).

Lex and I purchased our dream home in Bath, PA...a tract of land along the Bushkill Creek, with the house nestled on 27 wooded acres. The property includes our own private bridge that must be crossed to get to the driveway. It is really quite beautiful, especially when the leaves are in full color!! And for you hunters, Lex and a few of the guys working on the house killed two deer the first day of hunting season. Sounds great so far, right? Well, not the part about the killing of Bambi, or the fact that the guys working on the house couldn’t have been because they were busy playing “Rambo”. But the property does sound kind of dreamy, doesn’t it?

The house was a sprawling ranch (aka rambler for the Minnesotans reading this) with a 2nd story at one end. It had several doors in the front, and quite literally looked like a motel. The garage was once a dog kennel….that was turned into a bakery. I think they specialized in Hotdog Buns….sorry, I couldn’t resist. Sounds a little scary though.

We bought the place knowing that it needed a LOT of TLC, but not knowing at the time just how much!! I think the only thing about it that does not resemble the movie is that the tub has not fallen through the ceiling of the first floor. That could not happen to us because A) we have no running water to fill the tub and B) we have no tub, as this house was a foreclosure and the previous owner took everything including, literally, the kitchen sink!

It has been a very draining several months, both mentally and financially. But, it is almost completed….and looks more like the vision that Lex and I had when we both saw it. Our daughter, Leigh, is the only one of our kids to see the house “before”….and a few friends here who have been privy to several photos I may have passed around. I think you will all be surprised. I will post a “before” and “after” picture once I arrive in PA. Yes, I am counting those days.

Hopefully, the house isn’t under water after all the rain and snow PA has been having! Lex, where did you pack the waders??

Monday, December 29, 2008

Home is where your kids are

My Mom just tickled me with a comment she made. We were watching the news and she saw what the temperature was and said “Oh, 19 degrees…that’s not bad!” Now this is coming from a woman in her mid 80s, who is ALWAYS cold. Not to mention that if it were 19 degrees in PA she would be in her apartment under multiple blankets and complaining that she can’t get warm, with the thermostat set to 82 degrees. Oh, what a few weeks in Minnesota does for you! What was it that Mary Lisa said…”I’m home here among my own people”. Mom must feel at home!

Well, the pressure is on

First thing this morning I went to my freezer and removed 3 large ziploc bags. I love those things….they have countless uses!! That’s a future blog idea.

Anyway, after a very tasty Thanksgiving dinner (Cathy, we might have to have a cook-off one day!), I had frozen some turkey, juices and gravy, and of course the carcass. Yep, my mother made the best turkey soup by first cooking down the carcass to the bare bones! Isn’t the carcass already bare bones?? Curious. Well, even if you think you picked it clean, you would be amazed what still comes off after boiling it for a few hours. This became the base for a most delicious turkey soup. But first, you must, of course, remove the bones from the broth, silly.

Anyway, today is soup day. I picked today for two reasons. First, because Lex is in Pennsylvania checking on the “money pit”….another future blog….and he always likes the soup better warmed up than freshly made. And second, because this is the last meal I am cooking for my Mom and Dad, who have been visiting since December 18. Hence, the pressure is on. I must WOW my Mom, the master turkey soup maker, with my version. Yikes!

What did I say a few days ago about kids always needing their mom’s approval and praise?? Here I am at 54 years young, and still worried that I won’t measure up.

“Look, Mom…look what I made!”

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Counting the days

I have found myself counting days ever since Thanksgiving was over….

  • Counting the days until we left for PA to make our last check on the house before the big move.

  • Counting the days until I picked up Cailyn to spend 10 days with Grandy and GP.

  • Counting the days until Carrie arrived with D’dad and my niece, Kate.

  • Counting the days until my Mom, Dad, Carol, my sister and Jim, her husband arrived.

  • Counting the days until Jessie graduated from NDSU (go, Jess…we’re so proud of you!)

  • Saying goodbye to Carrie and Cailyn, and counting the days until I will see them again…way too many to count :(

  • Counting the days until Christmas.

  • Counting the days until the packers arrive.

  • Counting the days until we hug the kids for the last time and close the door.

  • Counting the days to say goodbye to all my Minnesota friends.

    But…it’s not goodbye.

    These last few weeks have been a very emotional time for me. I have been reminded each day of the great friendships I have made in Minnesota. The gamenight gals showered me with gifts that will remind me of all the fun we have shared over the years. My Bible study friends surprised me with a luncheon which included my ex-coworkers, the church staff. Every time I go somewhere in town I see someone I know and the tears automatically start flowing. I have been hugged, kissed, wished well, and felt so loved….how can I possibly say goodbye?? With tears of sadness, I say….I love you all dearly, and will take a little of each of you with me. Therefore….this is not goodbye, but merely a pause….until we meet again. I’m counting the days!

Thanks for the memories, my dear friends. Y

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Look Mom

“Look, Mom…look what I’m doing?!” my son exclaimed as he washed out a pan he had just dirtied while making a dip that he had to have right now…even though it’s lunchtime, and he has not had anything to eat yet today! Oh, the life of a college age youngin’. That comment took me back to the many, many, many, times I have heard that phrase over the years from each of my four kids.

You remember….if you’re a mother you must have heard those words at least once. It starts when they are young enough that everything they do is still cute. “Mom, watch me dive in the pool”… “Mom, count how long I can hold my breath under water”… “Mom, watch me ride my bike”… “Mom, look at the page I just colored”…remember??

I guess it doesn’t matter how old they are they still need your approval, praise and undivided attention. And as long as you’re a mom you still need them to look for your approval, praise and attention. No matter how old they are, no matter where they are living….you still need to be needed. Right?

I will miss each of them soooooo much. This time we are packing the boxes, heading to PA…our old stomping grounds…in just 2 weeks! But leaving behind our adult kids is a very hard thing to do. We hold on to the hope that at least one of them will want to move closer to us so I can hear the words “Look, Mom….” again, and again, and again!

Gone in a BLINK

I wasn’t sure if I would ever be ready for this. An empty nest sounded so…..well….empty. Seems like my days have always been filled with kissing booboos, wiping runny noses, cleaning up dinner remnants from the floor, but, enough of my husband….you’ll get to know more about him as the time goes by, of that I am sure!

The children…ahhhh…, when you want to be reminded of all of your bad habits, just sit back and watch your kids. If only there was a fast-forward button to push so that you could stop what you were about to do before you teach the little munchkins things that will only make you shutter years down the road.

Motherhood, or “Mothercraft” (which according to a Minnesotan friend of mine was an actual course taught back “in the day”), is the most rewarding and yet frustrating job there is. I would not have traded one nanosecond (is that a word?) of it! I LOVED being a mother, up until my oldest reached about 14, continuing until my youngest reached 18. Since there are four of my clones running around, that spans about 11 years of sheer Mothermadness.

You must know that I jest. Although the majority of the teenage years were nothing but challenge after challenge, they flew by much too quickly, and before I knew it….empty nest. You can’t get them back once they’ve flown the coop.

Oh, wait….did I just say that? My house was built with a revolving door. They move out, they move in, they move out… is hard to keep up with all the packing! But, it does make a mother’s heart feel good to know that you must have done something right to make them feel that they can’t live on their own and need you to take care of them. Or is that something wrong….and I should have taught them how to be independent and live on their own? Well, what’s done is done. And basically they have all turned out to be quite independent and capable of living on their own….once they try it!

But this whole empty nest thing is……..quiet, clean, freeing, and romantic! I guess it’s not so bad after all. However, I do enjoy a visit once in a while! As long as they call first!!

Wait…which one is that coming in the garage with an armload of boxes???!!!