Ducks In A Tub

Taking life's adventures one day at a time.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The more funner things

I'm sorry I haven't been more posty of recent. It's been really busy around here, what with the Thanksgiving long weekend, and the recent bout of coughs and colds that just shuttled through here. But, here I am, onward.

Do you remember when you first experienced something really cool, like when your first child learns something unexpected? You just want to hang on to that moment as long as you can, before it becomes just a memory. Of course, you'll retell the story of that moment over and over again, but you very rarely will feel the same.

The Talker loves the Dr. Seuss book, "Mr. Brown can MOO! Can You!" There is a page where Mr. Brown can make the knock of a door sound. The Talker always makes a fist and hits the cardboard book, and smiles and laughs. Yesterday, the Husband was reading Mr. Brown with The Talker and Blue Eyes together, in the other room. As I was writing an e-mail, the Husband yelled to me, "April! Get in here! And don't let them see you!" I rushed in, apprehensive but excited. I snuck up on the kids and Daddy behind the couch. As Hubby read the knocking page, The Talker did his commonplace knock...

and Blue Eyes reached out and open-hand knocked on the page.

I was stunned, and even more so when the Husband told me it wasn't a fluke, because she had just done it two minutes before. In a moment, I had the joy I felt when The Talker first knocked on the page. It came back in a thrilling rush, and I won't forget it for a long time.

I hope everyone gets to experience something like this. It sure made my November.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Hold on to your shopping cart!

The mass of humanity!!

I really, truly, honestly do NOT like the day after Thanksgiving shopping frenzy. Seriously. Don't get me wrong, I go out and grab my "deals" just like the next penny-pincher, but I don't like it. Who do they (the store corporations) think they are? They lead us to think that we are getting the steal of the century, when in reality they are still making money off our disillusionment. When I see the low prices set specifically for a few meagre hours, it only makes me more conscious of the fact that I get ripped of the rest of the year.

And yet, I succumb. Every year I dash out with the rest of the hordes to face the parking nightmare, the traffic congestion (in the store!), and rude line-cutters, all to save $10 on a widget. Oh, well, I guess that's life.

In the meantime, I left Husband home this morning so I could attack the price-reduced products single handedly. He sprained his ankle playing basketball with the men of the family yesterday...yeah, now I'm taking care of 3 helpless people for the next few days...ah, me, what's Christmas-star-studded and energy-surplussed gal to do?

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Turkey day? No, turkey week!

Thanksgiving is more than a day. It is a whole season!! We are having Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' house tomorrow night and all my siblings and their significant others will be attending. My dad is the chef for the event and he is treating us to stuffed cornish game hens.

I love cooking. While growing up, though, I had sisters who were more aggressive than myself and I always got kicked to the bottom rung in the kitchen...peeling potatoes or something equally non-creative. When I started to live on my own and then got married I enjoyed spreading my wings and discovered all sorts of fabulous recipes that made my husband's mouth water and kept him coming back for more :-) Actually, I pride myself that we don't feel the need to go out for dinner very often because we end up being disappointed in the quality of food. Most restaurants just are not up to par compared with my cooking.

Since I am missing out on the preparation of the most anticipated meal of the year, I have made this week my week of tantalizing menu items. Lately, because of unemployment and needing to save money, we have been eating alot of pasta and refried bean burritos. Not much variety. However, in honor of the season (and the great sale prices at the grocery store) I have splurged. This week's dinners include steak fajitas, ham with pineapple, szechwan chicken, and (you guessed it) I'm making my own turkey. Well, it's realy a boneless, skinless turkey breast, but that works good enough for us. Oh, and let's not forget the pumpkin pies I'm baking!!


What's on your menu for the big day?

Hope all of your Thanksgivings are filled with the blessing of familial love, the happiness of friendship, and the peace of God's protection.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

But the couch is so comfy!

Laziness. It is the bane of my existence. I had a perfectly good day today with plenty of opportunity to start sifting through all of our *ahem* junk in preparation for our move. I know "the move" is a few months away, but I figure the sooner I start to purge the unnecessary items from our possession, the sooner I can breathe easy about the reality of living in much smaller surroundings. My slothful side got the better of me, however. For the - hmmmm - 32nd day in a row (?) the quiet part of my day when the kids are both napping has been wasted. I sit, peacefully immersed in a book and enjoying my moments of blissful silence. Needless to say, I have accomplished exactly nothing. The ironing has piled up for weeks, my kitchen junk counter is more impenetrable than ever, and the piles of useless items are still scattered throughout the house, instead of being neatly arranged in preparation for a garage sale in the indefinite future.

One day soon I hope to force through my natural tendencies and actually DO something with my afternoons. Until that day arrives, I remain sleepily yours...

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Chapter 4: The House

Here it is. The story of mistakes made and lessons learned. I am talking about the house that we recently left and has caused us such trouble. We closed escrow today, so the story is mostly finished. There are still some consequences for our rash behavior, but I won’t be able to explain those until tax time. I guess I’d better start at the beginning…

When we found out that I was pregnant a mere 2 ½ months after The Talker was born, we were quite nervous because of how close in age our children would be. Our condo had two bedrooms and I was quite sure that we needed to have three bedrooms to comfortably fit ourselves and two babies. The lazy part of me said that it would be too much hassle to deal with two kids in the same room when they are still at an age to need naps. We started to look for a house. The county where we lived was quite expensive, so we expanded our search to the next county over. After a couple months of searching I found my dream house. It was a pleasant 4 bedroom house on a half-acre lot in a quiet cul-de-sac. I could see us spending many, many years raising our family in this ideal home. We placed an offer of $605,000 (a real deal for Southern California!) and the offer was accepted.

As escrow progressed, there were problems with our loan. We had decided not to sell the condo. Instead, we deeded it into a land trust with my aunt. Basically, she was going to take over the payments while renting the place out for a few years, then sell it at a profit and we would receive our portion of the proceeds. It was a good plan, except that having two mortgages on our credit was no easy task. We had to jump through all sorts of hoops in order to get the new bank to approve the loan on the house. The first plan for financing failed, then the second plan failed, and we were finally approved by our “Plan C” lender. We should have seen the red flags. The loan that we wound up getting had a higher interest rate (almost sub-prime) and the payment was $4000 per month. That is a lot of money, but keep in mind that, at the time, my husband was collecting his short-term guaranteed paychecks grossing $15,000 a month.

We were short-sighted and naïve. Somehow, we got it into our heads that, once we were in the house, we would re-finance the loan to a better rate and everything would be fine. We closed escrow in August 2005 and everything started off great. We got settled quite comfortably. I bought new furniture and curtains, had the cottage cheese scraped off the ceilings, and we even painted a couple rooms. In fact, I was over-zealous in my home-making efforts and I wound up getting pre-term labor and had to go on bed rest for the last couple months of my pregnancy.

We made an attempt to re-finance the house and it did not work, so we were stuck with our high payment loan. After a few months, the paycheck took a huge hit and we started to take money out of our savings every month in order to pay the mortgage.

As I wrote in Chapter 3, H lost his job in January 2006. We saw this as a sign to get out while we still could. In an effort to save money and hope to sell the house for a better price, we placed an ad that we were selling the house by owner. H used his creative skills to develop a great flyer and we spent the last two weeks of my pregnancy calling realtors, visiting open houses and offices, and spreading the word that we had a house we wanted to sell and we would be happy to pay a buyer’s commission. We were not trying to make any money off the house, we just wanted to sell it and break even. Like most people who try to sell by owner, we finally broke down and hired a realtor. In the two months that he worked for us, hardly anyone came by to see the house.

Our next door neighbor was interested in buying the house for her son to live in, but she was only offering $550,000, which would leave us with a loan balance of $50,000. That’s when H realized that we were going about this all wrong. It was time to ask the bank for a short sale. A short sale is when the bank accepts less money than they are owed. Basically, we send a bunch of paperwork into the bank trying to prove to them that we are in financial difficulty and cannot make our mortgage payment. When someone makes an offer on the house, the bank reviews the offer and decides whether or not to take it. We did all of our part, but the next door neighbor, for all sorts of personal (and dysfunctional) reasons did not hold up her end. She has been dubbed by us as “the crazy neighbor” because of this incident.

It was the end of March. Two months had passed since we first tried to sell the house. We fired our realtor because we became impatient. We moved in April, and we made a huge decision. On May 1, 2006, we did not pay our mortgage. Those $4000 a month payments were draining our savings account and we had a choice. We could either keep paying the mortgage until we had no money left and risk that the house still had not sold, or we could stop paying and hope the bank accepted a short sale offer before they took the house to auction. With two babies, it was much more important to us to have emergency money on hand, so we chose the latter.

You can debate the morality of this decision (I sure did!) but it was the best way to keep our family’s finances somewhat secure.

We have left that house vacant since April and we hired a new realtor to try and sell it. There were a couple offers made on the house, but none of them were suitable to the bank. Meanwhile, in August the bank filed notice of default on our loan. We were starting to think we might suffer a foreclosure on our credit. By California law, the bank has to wait at least 90 days to file a notice of default and then at least another 90 days to take a house to auction.

Finally, about 2 months ago we received a good offer, the bank approved it, and we entered escrow. When the time came to do the home inspection, there were some problems that came up (likely the result of sitting vacant for several months). The buyer changed his offer to a lower amount and the bank did not re-approve it. We were quite worried. However, it was also about this time that a new buyer came into the picture. This person is a contractor and did not mind doing the work that the house needed. He offered $550,000 and the bank approved.

After a series of bumps during the course of escrow (including $1600 of termite damage repair and $6000 septic work that the bank agreed to pay for) we are finally done. The loan funded last Friday and it is being recorded in the county today. We are free of the house. (And it only cost us $4000 to bring the property taxes up to date.) And not a moment too soon! We went to the house one last time over the weekend and there was a notice taped to the front door. The bank was planning to auction the house on December 12.

So now we have to repair 6 months of delinquent payments on our credit, but that it not nearly as bad as a full-blown foreclosure that could stay with us for years.

We no longer own the House of Learning, but it will be with us for a few more months. See, the bank does not do a short sale without repercussions. After realtor commissions and all costs are paid, the bank is taking a $120,000 loss. By California law, we are going to receive a 1099 from the bank at the end of this year and we will be responsible to the IRS for the taxes on this money. They see it as our gain and we will have to pay up. BUT, there are ways of proving hardship and insolvency, so we will see. That part of the story does not have an ending yet.

Actually, we consider ourselves as getting off easy. California law also states that if a house is re-financed and then goes into foreclosure, then, in addition to having tax penalties, the bank can also sue the owner for the remainder of the loan…and they will win their judgment every time. Thankfully, our attempt to re-finance the house failed and we are only stuck with the tax issues.

After such a difficult experience I am quite convinced that I will never want to own another house again! Or, at least, that I will pay closer attention to the red flags and not jump into a situation I can’t handle. Maybe one day the time will be right…but that time is not now!

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Update...more to follow

I apologize for my absence the last couple of days. So much has been going on! We are definitely closing escrow on the house Monday, so stay tuned for my re-telling of the dramatic and harrowing experiences that led up to this momentous occasion.

My husband and I have been toying with the idea of starting our own business. Last week, someone found an ad that I had posted on Craigslist asking for typing work. I've been looking for ways to make money from home and typing happens to be something that I am good at (bet you never would have guess that one, huh?). Well, anyway, this particular job was pretty difficult, but it got me and Husband thinking about the business possibilities. We are centering our efforts around starting a transcription service. You know, someone talks into a tape recorder and we type it out for them. We've only been working on this little project for a few days, but the prospects are out there and we are trying to see what we can make of this little scheme.

As we develop more, I'll keep you updated :-)

In other news, my sister had a baby today! A little girl. I am finally an aunt, since my kids are the first grandkids on both my side and my husband's side of the family.

I know I'm rambling a bit tonight, but I only had a few minutes and my thoughts had not quite worked themselves into a comprehensible form by the time I sat down at the keyboard.

More next time...

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Go for Homeschooling

I'm a big supporter of homeschooling. I did it (8th grade and up). My husband did it (7th grade and up). We plan on doing it with our children (at least in the beginning and we'll see how it goes). We have our own reasons for wanting to continue in our parents' footsteps of home educations, but those reasons are a topic for another day.

This is a great article, written by a 28-year veteran, award winning public school teacher that shows several difficulties of the school system in educating and molding the youth of today. Some of these complaints are perfect arguments in favor of homeschooling, that I had never even thought of. Teaching at home does not solve all of the difficulties the author presents, but I have to admit, he makes a compelling point about the troubles that face today's children in their education.

What do you think about his points?

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Perfect Sunday

Going to church on Sunday, while being a wonderful spiritual re-kindling, is not without its difficulties. Our typical Sunday entails rushing through breakfast, getting the kids ready, and hurrying out the door. Once at church, we take turns juggling Blue Eyes and The Talker.

Blue Eyes is still too little to sit by herself on the pew. She bounces and plays and makes occasional noises of glee which, though cute by themselves, are distracting to those of the congregations sitting around us. If our efforts to silence her sounds have no effect then Husband usually takes her to the back, or outside, where she can be happy and playful without distraction. This lee-way will only last a few more months before we start to teach her (like we taught The Talker) to stay quiet during the liturgy.

The Talker is VERY good in church. We have taught him to sit still either on the pew, or in one of our laps. He “reads” the music book very quietly on his own. Sometimes he will talk out loud and a quick look from Mommy or Daddy reminds him to whisper. We have not had to take him outside since he was about 14 or 15 months (he is now 20 months). While he earns the name “The Talker” outside of church, in this blessed place he is quiet, and still, and as perfect as any parent could wish. Even though he is well behaved, Husband and I still leave church exhausted every week from holding one or the other child for an hour straight.

Yesterday’s Mass, however, was perfect. The Talker sat very still and Daddy only needed to hold him a few times. When he was being held he sucked his thumb, and looked around, and kept his good behavior on.

I held Blue Eyes through the whole Mass. She squirmed a little at the beginning, but towards the middle and end she wanted to snuggle. Her head rested perfectly under my chin, while she sucked her thumb and relaxed. *sigh* I am ashamed to say that I do not cuddle with my little girl nearly as much as I wish I could. First of all, she does not generally like to cuddle. Second, I’m usually balancing both kids at once, or hurrying Blue Eyes through her bottle so that I can deal with The Talker’s latest needs. So when I was able to enjoy a full half hour of warm, soft, loving attentions to and from my daughter I was the happiest mama alive. I probably should have paid more attention to what the priest was saying, but I don’t think God minded…

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Halloween - I know it's really late

I do not usually post on Sundays, but I was so proud of myself for managing to get pictures into my submission yesterday that I figured I was long overdue for displaying Halloween photos. I know, Halloween is practically ancient history now, I mean, it was almost two weeks ago. But, here I am, technologically slow and invoking my parental “right to brag.”

Here is The Talker in his Batman costume. We did not go trick-or-treating, but that did not stop me from dressing him up per the custom of the day.

I neglected getting Blue Eyes a costume this year, but she looked so darn cute in this picture that I thought I would post it just to show her off…

Holy Sunday!

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Family Legacy worth Repeating

I recently had the privilege of being present at a landmark event. My great grandmother turned 100 years old. And she is still pretty independent, believe it or not. To celebrate this momentous occasion, the family all got together. Well, not everyone was there, but those who were able to attend added up to about 150 people. Pretty big, huh?

My Great Grandma T is the family matriarch. She is my mother’s maternal grandmother. Or, another way, my mother’s mother’s mother. This great woman and her husband of almost 60 years (my great grandfather passed away about 20 years ago) started their very own empire of descendants. They have 4 children, 31 grandchildren, 84 great grandchildren, and (at last count) 28 great-great grandchildren --- with more on the way! Add in spouses, step children, and significant others and you can imagine what a crowd showed up to celebrate the event of the century.

I have never met so many complete strangers that are my blood relatives! While I was growing up we pretty much stuck to the closer family (like most people do, I think). We would see my parents’ siblings and their children, and maybe a great aunt or great uncle at Easter or Christmas. The “family” celebrations never reached beyond to second or third cousins. It was quite mind-boggling to meet my mother’s cousins and their children, then “do the math” (so to speak) about what our relationship is. Better yet, what their relationship to my children is. I think we got as far as my fourth cousins, which would be my children’s fifth cousins, if you can believe it!

Yes, I even got a picture of me and my husband, our kids, my mother, my grandmother, and the lady of honor my great grandmother. Five generations in one place at one time.
At one point I was approached by one of my mother’s cousins. I had written my maiden name on my name tag so that people would know which part of the family I belonged to. This particular cousin, however, had not seen my mom since she was 10 years old and he did not know her married name (my maiden name). He said, with a smile, that he would only know me by my mother’s maiden name because that is how he remembers her. Wow! Talk about family you haven’t seen in a while.

We all exist because of the love between Great Grandma and Great Grandpa T. They started their own thread of life which we continue and pass on to the next generation. Imagine all the lives that have been affected, the new lives created, and the deeds accomplished. I am proud to be part of such an amazing legacy!
P.S. For those of you who are waiting with baited breath for the next chapter in the Saga of my complicated life, you will have a wait a little longer for the next installment. "Chapter 4: The House" will not be completed until next least, I hope that's when it is out of my control, but trust me the story will be well worth the wait!

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Chapter 3: 2006 Job Hunt

We will always remember the year 2006 for two reasons. One, our daughter was born – a great blessing. Two, it has been the year of trials. I would like to say the year of trials and triumph, but that last part has not happened yet.

In January 2006, H was fired from his job at the title company. For a couple months we had already been struggling with making our mortgage payments and, to us, the job loss was a sign. We immediately started to sell the house. (Much more on that later…it’s another loooooong story…)

This was our first experience with unemployment. Naturally, H looked for work. His first step was to call all the people he knew and see if they were hiring. H’s uncle manages a sales department of a title company. At first, H did not think he wanted to get back into title insurance. He thought that he would just call it quits and find something else to do. But, he’s not a very patient man and within two weeks he thought he was desperate and he took a job working one of the sales territories under his uncle. My determined husband made the 50 mile drive to and from his territory every day, often times not getting home until it was time to put the kids in bed. The drive was too much, and he missed so much family time that in April we decided to move closer to the territory. (The house had not sold yet, but, remember, that is another story.)

Just a few weeks after we moved, H told me that he was quitting the title company to take a job selling gold. I was quite shocked. After all, we had moved so that we could be closer to his work. The new position he was taking was 30 miles away in heavy traffic. After quite a bit of discussion, I decided to back off and let my husband make the decision. He lasted two weeks at that job. Why did he quit? Because he cannot hard sell. (Title insurance sales is mostly based on having a good relationship with the client. You get the business because the other person likes you. The gold sales were over the phone and it required a pushy, hard sales tactic that H could not muster in order to be successful.)

This was round two of unemployment. H could not go back to his uncle. He had decided that he was done with real estate and that the market would not support him at this time. So, the job hunt began. We discovered a scam company that claims it helps you get a high paying job at the postal service. (Of course, we discovered that it was a scam AFTER they had taken our money.) H decided to go to bartending school thinking that he could surely get a good job, with great tips. The school even offered a placement service. Well, he finished school, learned a lot, and then learned that reputable high traffic bars will only hire people with high traffic experience. No-go on that one. But, the school did place H with a party staffing company. He worked private and corporate parties as a server and a bartender while looking for full time employment.

Once again, H is not a very patient man. After about 4 weeks he panicked again. That is when our landlord called and asked H to work for him selling payroll. H thought this was a great idea, after all, the guy was offering a salary, not just commission like most sales positions. That was in July.

While working for the payroll company, H had to continue working parties on the weekends in order to make ends meet. Even so, we had to take some money out of savings each month to pay a few bills. We feel blessed to have our savings account left over from the “good days” of title insurance.

Four months after starting in payroll, at the end of October, H’s boss decided that H wasn’t cutting it. H tells me (and I believe him) that he and the owner have different approaches to sales. H feels that his bosses approach is unethical and he refuses to adopt this manner of business. Meanwhile, the boss felt that H was not doing everything he could to secure new business.

And, gosh darn it, October was the first month we finally broke even on the income. We did not need to pull out of savings to pay any bills, then the hammer drop of unemployment.

So, that leaves us where we are now. Unemployed for the third time this year. My husband and I have had many conversations lately and I think that now he realizes that a good job will just be given to him overnight. He seems to finally be realizing this and his approach to a career change is looking good. No more sales for us! It is time for stability, regularity, and dependability. If that means that it takes 2 or 3 or 4 months to find the right position, then so be it. Meanwhile, H continues to serve and bartend at parties to make some income. It does not pay all the bills, but it helps enough to keep us going until he find the right career position.

Please pray for us during this difficult time.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Chapter 2: Jobs of Old

When I met my husband in May 2002 he was working for a title company as a computer software trainer. He made his rounds of the company clients and taught realtors and mortgage lenders how to use the software necessary for efficient business. The flexible schedule and self-management of the position really suited his personality and he did well. Everyone loved him and he was a real asset to the company.

In August 2004 (after we were engaged), he was offered the opportunity to become a sales rep for the title company. The real estate market in Orange County was still booming at this point and H jumped at the chance to get in on the rush. He focused his sales energies primarily on mortgage brokers and lenders. (He had difficulty working with realtors.) H was successful almost immediately after he started this, his first, sales job. Things were so good, in fact, that we decided to buy a condo, and we closed escrow right after we were married in January 2004. On the way home from our honeymoon H told me that I didn’t have to work anymore if I didn’t want to. I decided to take him up on his offer and stay home, enjoying my days of “housewife” before God blessed us with children.

Everything was wonderful. H was supporting us financially. I got pregnant. We never really had to worry about money. Everything looked great. What comes next didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. We kept living life on cloud nine. In retrospect, though, this is where things started to get a little rocky before the Crash of 2006.

Around February of 2005 H moved departments within the title company. He thought that he could make more money working for a bigger division. The new division agreed to pay him a guaranteed amount of money for a few months, while he worked on securing a clientele appropriate to the division. The job was much harder than H expected and he was not nearly as successful as he hoped he would be. When the specified time for the guarantee was over, H took a big cut in pay. He was now dependant on his commissions, which did not nearly equal what he had been receiving prior.

In May 2005, a competing title company asked if H would like to go work for them. He requested a huge amount of money for a six month time, and they agreed to pay him. So, he changed companies and started collecting those big paychecks, while trying to acquire enough clients to make up the commission for when the guarantee was over.

While H was collecting the big bucks, I got pregnant with our second child. We decided that the condo might be too small and we wanted to get a house, so we did. We bought a wonderful 4 bedroom house in August 2005.

Right after we bought the house (with a BIG mortgage), real estate started to slow down. Interest rates went up and the refinance business that made H successful previously no longer existed. On top of that, there were management problems at the title company. H got involved in the dispute. He picked the wrong side, became the fall guy for the whole fiasco, and got fired.

Our second baby was due to be born in two weeks. We were left with no health insurance and had to pay COBRA ($$$) in order to get coverage for the delivery.

That brings us to January 2006. Oh, 2006…this year has been a real trial. Keep reading tomorrow for the ups and downs, the harrowing twists and turns that this year has brought.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Chapter 1: The Move

Well, it is time for some updating. It might take a few days to tell the whole story so bear with me. (For the record, when I started this blog I had every intention of keeping my entries simple and enjoyable to all. Stories about the kids. Teasing my husband. Little tidbits of advice. The kind of stuff you have seen from me the last few weeks. Well, now I find that this is a good outlet to air my frustrations, and I could use some advice from you, my readers, so feel free to share.)

First topic: The Move.

As with everything in our life right now, this is quite complicated and involves some storytelling. Last April we moved to the house we are in now. One of my husband’s (I’ll start calling him “H” for short) old clients owns the house. He bought it for the purpose of tearing it down and rebuilding his “dream house.” Rather than let the house sit vacant until the building plans were completed and the financing all in order, he offered to rent to us for a very good price. The price was a little more than we had wanted to pay when we were house hunting, but it was a great deal and we decided to sign the lease for one year. The agreement was that we would have a one year lease and go month to month after that, since the owner didn’t know how much longer than the year his pre-construction work would take.

Well, a few things happened with H’s work and he ended up going to work for the landlord selling payroll services. (There will be a LOT more info on the “job situation” later – it’s a whole other topic.)

The salary that H received from his new boss/our landlord was not enough to meet the monthly household expenses. H asked if we could pay less rent and the guy agreed. For four months we paid a little less rent, no problems. Then H’s boss/our landlord fired him. At the same time he told H that we would have to pay the original rent amount again. H asked if Landlord would release us from the lease so we could get a place we could afford. Landlord said that he would be enforcing the lease; if we want to leave we have to pay it off.

So now we are stuck here until our one year is up. I know the landlord had every legal right to enforce the lease and make us pay the higher amount on the lease…but isn’t that a really jerk move to do?!?

There you have it. We started off on amiable terms with our landlord and now we can hardly wait to get out of here as soon as the lease is over. The strange part is that the landlord keeps insisting that it is “nothing personal” and that he still really likes H. He’s earned a blackspot in my book and I can’t wait to get out of here and start over.

As to where we will be going, who knows? It all depends on where H gets a job. We have until April to figure it out. More on The Job(s) later…

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Hit the wall, so to speak

You ever hit the wall in life? In like...EVERYTHING?

That's what I feel like happened these last few days; thus, the reason for my absence from Ducks In A Tub. The Husband is on the career search again, The Talker has been in panic mode because we took the sides of the crib, Blue Eyes is teething hard, and we just realized we're moving in four months. Plus, I've had a cold, and haven't felt so well...

I've been trying to take my mind off it with some Harry Potter and Series of Unfortunate Events, but these stories take time to enjoy. Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying them, but not optimally. Oh, well. I guess, in the grand scheme of things, it could be worse, but it's not.

I just need things to settle dooooooooowwwwwwwnnn.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Warning: For women only…and even then you may not want to read…

Being a woman is hard work. I’m not talking about raising kids. I’m not talking about being pregnant. I’m not even talking about childbirth. Today I am talking about something we all have in common. We all experience the “monthly” discomfort in some form or another. The degrees of annoyance and pain vary for each of us.

I wish I could find it in me to write about something else, but my pain today is so great that it is the only thing on my mind.

Before I had kids I used to suffer miserably during the first two days of my monthly feminine event. My cramps would get so bad that I would have to leave work or school, go home, curl up in a ball with a heating pad, pop some pills in my mouth, and wait (hope?) for relief. (Ice cream helped, too…) Some months would be better than others, but I was invariably forced to endure the wretchedness month after dreary month.

Many people told me that I could expect the bearing and delivery of children to heal or reduce my ailment. I prayed for this miracle to occur. Somewhat surprisingly, I had very little physical discomfort during my pregnancies (comparatively). After 18 months of pregnancy (my son was only 2 months old when I conceived again) I was looking forward to settling back into a normal cycle, but without the horrible experiences of my B.C. (Before Children) days.

I wish I could tell you that that the tales were true. Sadly, though, pregnancy and childbirth has not healed my hurt. I now experience the same cramping and pains that haunted me back then. For those of you who have children, imagine being in labor (sorry, that’s the only way I can compare it), about a half hour before you were ready for the doctor to give you the epidural is how I feel…once every month…all day long…

I try medicines, and they do help the pain…but I can’t sleep at night because they contain caffeine…which keeps me awake. So, I’m pain-reduced (not really pain free), but now I’m tired from lack of sleep.

Hmmm…maybe it’s time to have another baby so that I can enjoy the blissful relief that pregnancy gives… just kidding! ;-)

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