Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Killing time

Yesterday, I took the kids to downtown Spokane.  Jack needed a haircut and school clothes, but he forgot his phone, which meant I had to stay with him, as our first attempt at meeting somewhere at a specific time failed miserably. Fourteen year-old boys have their own specific listening skill sets.  He ended up buying nothing, because anything you buy with your mom at your side will instantly make you look like a loser. To try to salvage the afternoon, I took the kids on a Skyride over Spokane Falls, which, in my day was called a gondola ride and they were just rickety enough to be terrifying to a little girl.  Now they have newer, fancier boxes to ride in, and my kids were pretty underwhelmed, although I believe Jack was able to catch a few ZZZs, exhausted as he was from all that heavy sighing he was doing in the shops. 

I'm starting to get my itinerary for our cross-country trip together, and I am a little bit freaked out.  You know how every summer, the media latches onto what they deem is the latest Terror that Will Probably Kill You (shark attacks, swine flu, etc.)?  This summer the TTWPKY is bed bugs, specifically, bed bugs in hotels.  Now, I have a bit of an unnatural aversion to things like this.  I'm the mom who doesn't let her kids use handrails in public places because my fear of germs is greater than my fear of kids falling down an escalator.  I'm working out a plan to case the numerous hotel rooms we will be staying in before we unload our belongings.  Thanks, internet, for telling me how to check for bedbugs!  And, thanks for telling me that just one tiny bedbug can actually ruin my life.  I've also discovered that there is a Bed Bug Registry, which is not a place where engaged bedbugs go to pick out china patterns.  So, as soon as I find a hotel that allows dogs, I cross-check it with hotels that are listed on the Bed Bug Registry, then I check to make sure it has a pool.  Isn't Mitch a lucky man to have me to do all this Important Stuff That Will Basically Save Our Lives?
For those about to rock, Olivia salutes you.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Girl Time

The kids and I are thoroughly enjoying being with extended family, but we're all missing Mitch and missing a routine.  Olivia has been breaking down at night, wanting Daddy, and wanting to go home. It's hard to explain that with the Thule on top, our current 'home' is a two-story Ford Expedition.

Today was Girl Day, which consisted of Nana, my sisters, nieces, and daughters, eating lots of carbs, drinking mimosas, having a little jewelry show, playing with makeup, and getting professional pedicures.  It was the first time I've ever been able to convince my girls to let someone besides me touch their feet.  They loved it of course. One husband and one boyfriend also partook of the mimosas and pedis, but only while discussing drag racing so as to keep their balls intact.

Five days until we hit the road.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


The bosom of family, that is.  Cousins rule.
I never thought I'd see a fair as tiny as the one in Island County, but the Lincoln County Fair could probably fit inside our car (which also happens to be our current residence).
Brave enough to try the Tilt-A-Whirl....
But not brave enough to ride with the family's Number One Barfer.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On our way

Resident artist captures mommy's cocktail, metal stylus and magnetic flakes, 2010
I wanted to write a long, heartfelt love letter to all you crazy kids that are a part of my life on the eve of our departure, but I haven't been doing so well with the goodbyes, so I'll leave you with this pick-up line I learned from Jack:

"Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?  Cuz it sure messed up your face."

Why no, he doesn't have a girlfriend.  Why do you ask? 

I guess we're as ready as we'll ever be.  Grace just found out we were moving, despite it being the topic of EVERY conversation for the last three weeks.  She must have had her pretty little head on other matters.  She cried for a good long time, mostly because her siblings laughed in disbelief that she didn't know we were moving. Well, she claims she knew, but she thought it was sometime in the very distant future.  Anyway.  I showed her the goodie bag I packed her for the car and she snapped right out of her tears of despair.  Henry asked me to call the temporary housing in Virginia where we'll be starting out to see what size their TVs are, but I, uh, may not have time for that.  I've packed a little list of dog-friendly hotels from here to there, lots of cinnamon Icebreaker mints, fresh DVDs and video games for the kids, not too many pairs of shoes, truffle salt, and just few enough clothes that I may need to buy some new ones on the way.  Like a Corn Palace t-shirt.   If you think of anything I've forgotten, just keep it to yourself.  The car is FULL.

Next stop, Spokane, for some cousin time while Mitch stays back to do the packout, because it's totally his turn.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A picture of my insomnia


                                                                              Gah, could he snore any louder?

                    If I ordered shoes now, they wouldn't get here before we move

    I forgot to find an orthodontist today
                                                     should we get the dog's anal glands expressed?

                       Can we make it through the week without having to buy toilet paper?

We should have sold the freezer
                                                                why did I buy these granny panties?

                             school supplies

                  I can't believe Jack thinks I should stop cussing after all these years

                                                                               Need new ipod charger
    must cancel comcast
                                                        should we cut down through Kentucky?

                                                                                                 Polly pockets

                                             Sofabed in longterm storage?  I hate that thing.
                                                          should I renew my WA driver's license

                                need gallon ziplocs for barf

         Is it worth going out of our way to see the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum?

                            salt and pepper Kettles chips

Friday, August 20, 2010

Farewell Tour

What I should be doing is packing, sorting, and organizing.  The house is a shambles, and I should also be cleaning, but today we played hooky from dumb, stupid chores and decided to visit some of our favorite Seattle haunts for the last time.  Jack is off at the beach with a buddy, so he missed out on our trip to the Fremont Troll.

The holy grail of awesomeness that is Archie McPhee's.
Then we logged some serious boring hours shopping for a shiny black coffin for the top of the car so we can have a place to store my shoes our important stuff on the cross-country trip. When we got home, Henry begged to play the new computer game we had loaded onto the laptop for the trip. 

"Mom, is it alright if I use 'poopbutt' for my screen name?"
"[Sigh], Why don't you just use 'skidmark', Henry?" I replied with as much sarcasm as I could muster (which, if I do say so myself, is a lot).
"Because that's already my password."

Nine year-old boys rule.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

TB or not TB

I was reading through the requirements for the kids' new schools in VA this morning.  I turns out they are required to have a TB skin test within 90 days of registration.  Whew, they just had one for their Medical Clearances, I think to my smug self.  Because sticking a needle under their skin and injecting some fluid into their arm is not their favorite thing.  I also find this amusing, because I've been filling out paperwork for days for this school, and everything has to be ORIGINALS, not copies.  But I also have to bring copies.  And they want a lot of information, including a lease agreement (original) to make sure we're not trying to sneak into their school. This is slightly different than when I registered the kids for school on the island, which went something like this:

Me:  "Hi, we will be moving to Whidbey Island next month, and I'd like to get my kids registered for school.  I'm just wondering what paperwork I need to have."

School Secretary:  "Oh, yes, you must be the family that bought the house over on Ambey Lane!  Well, just drop the kids off when you get here and we'll call it good."

Anyway, I was pulling out the ORIGINAL copies of the TB test report, and wouldn't you know, their TB tests were done 91 days ago.  EFF.

Monday, August 16, 2010


These are SOME of Henry's Legos.  Not pictured are all the ones that are currently assembled into some space ship or war thingie.  The movers will be here in a few weeks.  We are allowed to take most of our stuff, but the whole family is only allowed 900 lbs total in UAB (unaccompanied air baggage).  UAB is stuff we will get right away.  HHE (household effects) is stuff that goes to a dark, lonely place until we move into more permanent digs (permanent meaning longer than a year or two).  In the UAB will go some of my kitchen stuff that I can't live without, some electronics, and most of our clothes.  That stuff right there probably puts us over our 900lb. limit.  Henry claims he can't live without the Legos, so we're working on getting them down to a single bin.  I suppose I can part with the Kitchenaid mixer for a bin full of Legos.  As far as other toys, the girls aren't really attached to anything, so a small bag of stuff for each of them.  Jack claims his XBOX will be pried from his cold, dead hands, so I imagine that will be going in the car with us.

As for me.  Ahem.  Well.  I've spent the morning getting rid of two boxes worth of shoes I no longer wear.  These are the shoes I've decided I'll be needing in the next few months (not pictured are the five pairs I'm bringing in the car):

So, what do you think my chances are of staying within the 900 lb weight limit?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Guess what they're doing?  Go on, guess!

Having a conversation with each other via they're Nintendo DSIs.  Technology in action.


Well, we have a temporary place to stay in Virginia, in what is known (affectionately? please?) as the Foreign Service ghetto.  Also known as corporate housing. It actually looks rather nice, and there's a pool, so that's something I can work with when selling this move to the kids.  Unfortunately, they only have a two bedroom right now, but they think we might be able to get an additional studio for extra space, but it won't be attached or anything.  More like an annex to stick a teenager after school and whatnot.  I've always wanted a separate building for just that purpose, actually, so this could be a good arrangement.  We just need a place to park ourselves for a minute so I can get the kids settled in school.  The two little seven year-olds are totally into the idea of living in an apartment, a'la Eloise (you know, without the room service and whatnot).  Jack is totally onboard if we get the studio apartment because he thinks it would be his own pad (against Oakwood rules, but I'm not ready to make that known to Jack yet).  Henry is not that cool at all with it, especially since his room in the rental we've been living in for the past couple months is pretty much as big or bigger than your typical studio apartment, and it's pretty tricked out for a nine year-old's room.

We will be driving from Seattle to Virginia, so as to make life so miserable for our children that a two-bedroom apartment seems AWESOME, as long as it's not the car.  Another plan we have is to give each kid $5 per day spending money on the trip, but if they whine, complain, or torment one of their siblings, they have to pay us $1 back per infraction.  I predict Jack will go broke tormenting his sisters and Henry has told me he might have to let at least $1/day go in the name of complaining. We plan on stopping at all the goofy sights we can, and yes, I'm talking about the Corn Freaking Palace. And maybe Carhenge, but I'm not getting a lot of takers on that one.  I may have more luck with the World's Largest Cheeto.  And I'm only just getting started.

The mood around here is happily full of more highs than lows, but I kind of can't wait to see how the kids adjust to living in a tiny apartment in the city after a big house in the country.  We spent the day back on the island today so they could say goodbye to their friends and so I could say goodbye to our savings as Henry's orthodontist tallied up the final bill while commenting that orthodontics in the northeast generally cost 3-4 times as much as they do on Whidbey Island.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Onward and Eastward

Last year before Christmas, Mitch mentioned in passing that he applied for a job with the Foreign Service, telling me how arduous and complicated it was to get in, and how long the process was, blah blah blah.  I didn't give it much thought, because I had Important Stuff going on, and besides, I'm a delicate flower and doesn't he know I don't really take well to foreign travel?  Plus, the kids all barf at the drop of a hat or curve of the road.  Not to mention my crippling germophobia. And so I put it out of my mind.

Springtime rolled around, and Mitch had begun the long commute from Whidbey Island down to Seattle, where his new project was.  The commute is a killer, so we decided to put the house on the market and move back to the city.  A Fed-Ex package arrived.  The State Department was inviting him to Washington DC to take the Oral Assessment for that little job he applied for.  He and Jack go spend the week and have a marvelous time.   He passed the OA, so we all got to be poked and prodded and, um, other stuff.  I'd tell you what other stuff, but I'd have to kill myself you.  This is so we can get Medical Clearance for world wide travel.  Grace fainted during her blood draw, so that was an enjoyable memory for me as well as her siblings, who were all with her and were pretty certain she was dead.  We all passed, and although it was shaky for a while there, I even passed the mental health part.  Yay me!

The house sells.  We were lucky to rent a new house month to month right by Mitch's school project in Kirkland.  A big, soulless, ugly rental that we call "the hotel" because of it's beigeness (totally a word). There was a security clearance, which was very involved, so say our neighbors from the 90's and my second grade teacher's sister.   Aaaaaaaand, he got the job.  Officially for real.  Put in his notice at work.  Training starts on September 13 in Washington DC.  

So, we're filling the car with Clorox wipes, barf bags, and hand sanitizer and heading out the first week of September so we can be sure to see the Corn Palace and the World's Biggest Ball of Twine or whatever on the way.   Everyone has been asking me if we know where we'll be sent (and which parasite will be my ultimate downfall).  All we know at this point is that we'll be in DC for a while for a long bit, probably a few years. The kids are really excited, and since everyone knows it's the mom who sets the tone, I am excited too.  I will be especially excited when the boots that I ordered as a reward for myself arrive.