Good Choices

I have made good and no so good choices in my life around a whole host of things, but every day (okay, most days) I am reminded that I made the best choice imaginable in marrying Andrew.

He is supportive in ways that astonish me, and I have plenty to give him, too.

True love is a good thing. As is cuddling on the couch watching New Girl and eating Ben & Jerry’s, thankful for Fair Trade chocolate and sleeping children.

A year later

The last year has been a crazy roller coaster of pain and joy, frustration and silliness. We’re thankful for our two now and anxious for some of the ones who aren’t with us. It’s been hard understanding decisions that are so different from those we would make. They serve to remind us that these are not our kids, no matter how much we invest in them.

life with kids

Have been a foster mom for a month now, and it’s been rough. We’ve seen so much, hurt so much, started laughing again, and have searched, yet again, for a space to me figure out what I’m supposed to be doing.

We’ve decided to keep fostering after having two of our three kids go back. But we’re doing it on our terms, not CPS’s. Only one at a time. Only kids I can pick up. And if they’re not showing signs of adjusting, they’re going back.

That sounds so harsh as I write it, but we just don’t have the skills to cope with kids who can’t function in a home, and some of them can’t. And we’re told there are therapeutic foster homes where they can get the help we need. We want that for them. So much.

And we want our sanity. We’re having so much fun with A. She’s funny, charming, and fussy.

Who knows what will come next?

14020 PATH North Dakota Foster Care

14020 PATH North Dakota Foster Care (Photo credit: bsabarnowl)

‘Settling’ on 32 inches

English: Best Buy Express vending machine, in ...

Image via Wikipedia When I start shopping at one of these, somebody please wake me up.

I feel incredibly spoiled.

We finally got our deposit back from the old apartment (after a lost-key fiasco), and I went and got a 32-inch TV from Best Buy, Dynex, the cheap one, but with the four-year they-have-to-fix-it-if-anything-goes-wrong upgrade. This is a fine TV. The picture is clear, the sound’s a bit tinny but we have a stereo system for that. It’s more than we need, really.

But it’s smaller than the old 36-inch console, back when they didn’t measure diagonally and the screen was square. This one feels small and bit frustrating to watch by comparison. I could take it back and get a 40-inch, but it’s $100 more plus another $60 for any kind of decent warranty.

I am frustrated, not with the TV (it’s fine, really; I don’t love it, but that may make me less likely to sit mindlessly in front of it for hours on end, and yes, I know that sentence should be reworked but I just don’t care), but with the fact that if I was working anything approaching full-time, I would have bought the 40-inch without hesitation.

The lack of work from Demand has forced me to make choices. Where we had a cushion, we are now worried about every penny we spend. We have enough, but we used to have extra.

This throws my materialism square in the face. Where is that girl who could happily live in a village in a hut with a dirt floor and a couple of changes of clothes? Did she ever really exist, and if she did, why have I replaced her with someone who laments over a piece of technology that costs more than many people make in a year.

I need to get some perspective. Fast.

Becoming a cliche

I have to make this quick.

I need to get to the post office (yes, it still exists) to return the duvet cover that was sent to me. It is absolutely the wrong one. After a fight (sort of) with the guy who sent the ugly blue thing residing in a box on my bookshelf instead of the happy green one with embroidered flower that I wanted (I already have one of it, but it’s a full/queen and my husband’s step-grandmother gave us a king-size bed). It’s still on his website like he’s selling it, but he doesn’t have it, and he’s willing to pay part (only part) of the shipping for his mistake. But if I don’t send it back, I’m stuck with this thing I don’t want and no money back. Sigh.

That’s not why I’m a cliche, although it’s part of it.

I’m only working 12 hours a week. My freelance work has been dry for two months now, and it doesn’t show signs of returning anytime soon.

I live in the country where jobs are not exactly plentiful.

So I am becoming an insane volunteer who is lamenting the fact that she didn’t get her granola bars made today.

I am a housewife for all intents and purposes. Not a good one, but there’s not much else to call me. I spend my days doing laundry and trying to get hold of people who are working because that is what most people do.

If I start going out to lunch with a bunch of ladies, just shoot me.

The bedspread I got, but not the one I ordered

Cottage Envy

Blundell's Cottage

Old houses have soul. Image via Wikipedia

Well, not really.

We just bought a house.

It is an amazing house, only five years old, craftsman style with beautiful Pergo floors, four bedrooms, spacious views, and a kitchen so big seven people could cook in at the same time.

We have been looking for a house since about March. We found the perfect house. We made an offer, and it was accepted. We got an inspection and worried that there would be far too many problems because the house was built in 1920, but there weren’t. It was small and had built-ins and ugly wallpaper and even uglier carpet. But it had a fairyland yard, complete with lamppost, gazebo, and old rickety windmill. I couldn’t count all the trees. I loved that house.

But the appraisal was not what the owner wanted. The Realtor told her it was too low (it wasn’t), and she refused to sell.

So now we have an amazing house. I’m glad. It meets more than all our current needs, and it has room for kids, which is why we’re buying a house in the first place. There is a vacant lot next door that isn’t buildable, so we may be able to add to it in the future. The backyard is totally gravel, so we have an empty pallet with which to build our own fairyland.

The thing about old houses is that they have so much soul. A few well-placed pieces and the houses just sing.

This house doesn’t have soul yet. We have to bring it.

And that is an adventure in itself.

Too Darn Hot

Andrew and I have been on each other’s nerves the last few weeks.

It’s not us, really. We’ve been talking about it. We’re not annoyed with each other so much as we are just oversensitive.

The average temperature in our triplex has been in the 80s, I think, and it’s even hotter outside.

The other night we went driving around just feel the AC in the Butterfly.

The lesson we’ve learned? We are not heat people. We keep running into people who say how much they like living here because of the heat and how they wish they were outside. We do not understand.

In fact, we have decided that wherever we land next, we must be able to cool it down.

Beetle or Butterfly?

Okay, so we’ve been dealing with this leased car for months.

Andrew leased a car for the person who is now his ex-wife. There is much to this story that is simply too sad or too libelous too print.

Suffice it to say the lease term ended this month. We had to hire a lawyer who had to hire a private investigator to find said ex-wife and said car, a VW Beetle.

She turned the car over to us after, in my opinion, jerking us around a bit. It was damaged and had 14,000 more miles than were allowed on the lease agreement.

A week later, the car was, to quote Dickens, dead as a doornail.

Even the tow truck guy couldn’t jump it, so we had to tow it to the VW dealership in Bend.

It also became increasingly clear that we were going to have to buy the car because it would cost us more to pay out the lease than to purchase it.

That would have been okay, except that we don’t want or need the car. We have two perfectly good, perfectly old, perfectly paid-off cars.

Well, we did. We still have those two cars, but now we have a VW Beetle, too. In an attempt to change its image (at least in our eyes), Andrew christened the car the Butterfly. We decided we liked her, with her stylish little look and her stereo we can plug the iPod and the MP3 player into.

Alas, some things aren’t meant to last. The Butterfly isn’t flying.

We tried to take her to the store the other night, and she simply sputtered. This after being given a new battery and more money than we want to admit.

She is, apparently, determined to kill our Memorial Day weekend, the only time we can get her to the dealership. (Because, sadly, they are the only ones who can work on our delicate car.)

But the saga of the Butterfly has taught me a few things about my husband.

First, he blames himself for everything and constantly second-guesses himself.

Actually, I already knew that.

Second, and more important, he is gracious even to people who have wronged him. He believes the best about everyone but himself, and if he will treat a person who squandered his money and his property with forgiveness, I know I have nothing to fear in the years ahead.

Spring Break alone

Andrew is in Chelan with his parents, and I am here.

I would feel better about being here if I didn’t have a raging case of PMS and a compelling need to figure out how to make more money.

The air is gushing out of the little financial cushion we had made together.

A week ago we were  looking at houses, and now we are trying to figure out how to pay for a car we don’t need or want because to get rid of it would be more expensive than keeping it.

And my unemployment money is gone. I am working, but not enough. The most depressing bit is that I would have to work full-time at minimum wage just to cover what I was making on unemployment. I’m not frustrated that I would have to work full-time, mind you. I’m just staring square in the face the fact that I left a good-paying job (however much I hated it) to work 12 hours a week as a secretary and with no prospects for anything better.

All this has descended like a cloud on me, and for the first time in a long time, I am alone trying to see some sunshine.

There is nothing he could do about it, but he always listens, and he knows how to make me feel better. But not today.

missing Andrew

My mother just had hip surgery, and since I’m the unemployed daughter at the moment, I offered to help with her recovery. So here I am, a couple of hundred miles away, missing my husband.

I don’t think absence makes the heart grow fonder exactly; it makes it more appreciative.

I miss holding hands while we pray over meals and before we go to sleep at night. I miss the day to day encouragement and patience and gratitude for every tiny thing I do, and the willingness to let go of the things I don’t do but should … like laundry.

I love my parents, and I’m glad to help, but I already feel ready to go home. To my home.