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I have three fabulous children and a terrific husband. I was recently laid off and have decided to try the stay-at-home gig. We'll see how it goes!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Finding a Realtor

Finding a realtor to help sell your house is a tricky thing.  Normally I'm a pretty optimistic person, but it's difficulty to trust some one who is going to make money on what you are trying to sell.  They want it to sell fast and not necessarily for the best price.  This can make decision making very difficult.  Of course, the more you sell it for, the bigger their commission. But the longer the house is on the market, the bigger their expenses.

So how to pick a realtor?  There's personal recommendations.  Always a nice way to go because you can get an idea of how the person works.  Drawing out of a hat.  That could work out, but can be a bit scary.  Internet searches can tell you who sells a lot of houses, but are not the best at helping gauge how well you'll work with a person.

We have gone with the personal recommendation.  I think it's worked out well.  She is a great business woman.  I can tell because whenever she "gives me suggestions" I feel like I have to do them whether I want to or not.  Thank goodness for my recent experiences in sticking up for my daughter at school and dealing with repair people.  If not for them I'd be getting trampled on.  I'm glad for my husband too.  He is really great about stepping back and making sure we have time to really consider our options.

For me that is the truly difficult part.  I am relying on an expert to guide us in selling our house.  Only I don't fully trust that guide and don't have enough of a backbone to really question anything.  This will be another great lesson learned.  Hopefully we don't get burned in the process.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Telling the kids

We are concerned about how well the kids will adapt to our move.  We don't want them to be hurt or sad and we want them to make friends quickly.  We are brainstorming ideas to make their transition easier and even planning to do some major spoiling. I feel a ton of guilt right now.  I hate moving them from the only home they've ever known and flipping their world upside down.  I don't know how they feel.  I spent 15 years in the same house.  My parents still live in that house.  They've had the same phone number for the last 30 years!  Their area code has changed more often than their phone number.

My husband moved quite a bit as a child and did not like it.  My concern is that we're hurting our children's sense of safety and comfort.  All we can do is love on them and help them make the best of the move.  I know plenty of other people who have moved their children and they adapted just fine.  Even those who have moved to other countries seemed to do really well.

Telling the kids we are going to move went about as well as we expected.  The baby didn't really care.  Our son looked at us with his mouth agape.  He wasn't exactly sure what we meant.  Once we explained that all his toys would be coming with us, he was OK with it.  Still not happy, but OK.  After I explained he would be guaranteed the opportunity to sled and build a snow man every year, he was almost excited.

Our oldest was quite upset.  She didn't cry or anything, but she is not happy.  I think part of her might be excited to be going to a new place.  She likes adventure and traveling.  But Tennessee is all she knows and I know it's scary for her to think of trying to make new friends and learn how to adapt to a new environment.  Occasionally she'll look at me and say, "Only a few more months until my life is over."  The next day she'll say, "I can't wait to move."  It's quite the roller coaster of emotions around here these days.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Moving Checklist

There is a whole mess of things to get done when you want to move out of state.  And no matter how extensive a list, you will always add to it.  Here's the beginning of mine.

1 - Tell the kids.  Ha!  That will be fun.

2 - Find a realtor.  Also an interesting endeavor.  I view realtors like I do mechanics; I'm sure most are honest and trustworthy, but I don't trust any of them.

3 - Get the house ready to sell.  Exhausting!

4 - Begin process of trying to sell the house.  Even more exhausting.

5 - Start looking for a new house.  Fun, but exhausting.

6 - Buy a new house.  Terrifying.

7 - Get everything organized to move.  A total nightmare.

8 - Move.  Relief to finally be to that point.

9 - Unpack.  Ugh.

Let the fun begin.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

We're Moving!

My husband has received the official word from his boss and we are being moved to Wisconsin.  That's right, Wisconsin.  This former desert rat, turned Southerner is now going to learn to be a Northern snow enthusiast.  To be honest I always wanted to live where it snows.  Yuma, Az. (where I'm from) has an annual rain fall of about 1 inch and we usually get that in one rain.  My father still calls me to tell me if there were raindrops on his windshield when he woke up.  There are no seasons in Yuma.  It's hot and less hot.  Still it's my home and you can't beat that great big sky and the absolute most gorgeous sunsets you will ever see.

Moving to Tennessee was a huge change for us.  And now we're going North to a place that saw temperatures of -50F this winter.  Granted this was a very cold winter for everyone, but just the fact that it's possible makes me cry a little.  It will be great to be able to do some real sledding.  I've always wanted to take the kids down a big-ole hill.  We'll be virtually guaranteed a white Christmas.  However, we won't know anyone.  And as a SAHM, I won't have access to anyone for a while.  It will just be me and the kids trying to fit in and make friends while my husband is still traveling and meeting people at work.  I'll have no backup, no support system.  We don't have any family here and it took a while to meet people.  But we only had one kiddo then and I had a job.  Now it's just me and three kids.  Thank God for those kids too.  There's nothing like school and extracurricular activities to thrust you into social situations.

The target date for moving is July 1.  We'll see how that goes.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Screaming Baby

Have you ever been in a store and heard the screams of a child echoing throughout the entire building?  If you have, it's probably me and my youngest.  That girl has some lungs!  And if she doesn't want to be there, the whole store knows about it.  And rarely does she want to be there.  My two oldest almost never acted up in a store.  The few times they did, we were able to whisk them out.  I don't always have that luxury anymore.  When I wasn't 'that' mom, I used to think things like, "Why doesn't she take that kid out of here?" or "Doesn't that bother the parents?".  Now that I have first-hand experience I can tell you the answers are, "It's complicated," and "Yes!".

I'll start with the second question.  Of course it bothers me.  I hate taking my screaming child through a store.  It annoys me and I'm sure it annoys others.  It used to embarrass me, but I've learned to ignore it and get done what I came to do.

The answer to the first question gets a bit more complicated.  Our youngest has something of a temper and if she doesn't get her way, she screams.  We've worked on it.  We've done time out, tried to ignore it and when possible removed her from the situation.  We almost never eat out because we don't know what she'll do.  The problem comes when it is just me.  I don't go to stores to shop for fun.  There's no loafing around or window shopping.  I go to get what I need and get out.  I know I should take her out when she starts up, but we have to eat.  My husband travels a lot, so I often go to the store with one or all of my kids.

At one point my son had strep throat when my husband was out of town.  I had to take both him and the baby to the doctor's office.  I was prepared with games and snacks and she did pretty well.  When it was time to go the to store to get his medicine, however, she was done and wanted to go home.  She wailed the entire time we were in Target.  My son was half asleep in the big section of the cart, looking pitiful, while she was screaming like a banshee in the front seat of the cart.  I looked like a terrible mom; dragging my obviously ill son through a store while my  toddler's cries echo through the store.  But my son needed his medicine.  I wasn't going to wait, so my only option was to take them into the store.

People stared at me as if to say, "Do something.  Why aren't you trying to make the kid happy?"  I don't try to make her happy because I can't.  Nothing short of getting her home can make that child happy, so I don't try.  I keep my head up and ignore the ear piercing noise as best I can.  I have no idea how to stop this behavior.  I'm hoping that as she gets older, I'll be able to reason with her better and she'll understand that there are consequences for her actions.  Right now, she's too young to understand.  Just another thing I have to look forward to.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Still Working Toward Equality

Growing up I learned, as many of us do, about the hardships of different groups in history.  We spent hours studying slavery, the holocaust and communism.  But the suffragist movement got a paragraph or two.  At least we learned that women did get the vote.  For some reason the struggles that women faced and continue to face aren't worth much discussion in the class room.

A few weeks ago my daughter asked me who the first female President was.  I was sad to tell her that there hasn't been one, but was proud to hear her emphatic, "Why not?".  I couldn't really answer that.  I've heard many opinions.  The most upsetting was that there hadn't been a 'serious' female candidate.  I hope the commentator meant a female who did not have enough clout and popularity to make a 'serious' run for the Presidency and not that any of the women who have run weren't good enough.  One could argue that Barack Obama was not a 'serious' contender in 2008 because of his lack of experience, but he was elected.  Countries like Brazil, Denmark, Kosovo, Pakistan and South Korea have had female leaders, so why not the US?

When I was younger I was naive enough to think that sexism was dead in the US.  I believed that other than a few in the "older" generation, women were treated equal to men.  The older I've gotten the more I see it's not true.  Living in The South has further opened my eyes.  I will accept an old man (we're talking 75 and up) calling me sweetie or little lady, but anyone my dad's age or younger will get a full blown Arizona tongue lashing.  It happened to me at dealership service center and I got right back in my car and left.  When my husband and I went to buy me a car, I did all the talking, was in charge of all the money and they still put the car in HIS name.  HIS name.. not mine.  At the time, I was working and could by the car on my own.  It was obviously for me and yet they put it in the man's name.  Where I'm from they would have put it in my name and then maybe asked if I wanted my husband's.  It even happened with our lender for our home mortgage.  My name is on that, but the first line includes my husband's name and I am referred to as wife.  That's right.  I don't have a name, I am 'wife'.  

I think women have made a strong case to be treated equally.  It is hard to believe women are still considered, by some, to be fragile, docile and needy.  There are women astronauts, firemen, policemen, congresswomen, plumbers and contractors.

Of course we don't do ourselves any favors by posing nude in magazines and doing reality shows where we are portrayed as self-absorbed, superficial and materialistic.  What we seem to miss is the strong, smart role models.  I know those women exist; we don't give them the same attention.  I guess they aren't interesting.  If women are strong and smart, they are seen as mean or bitchy.  

When I worked as a researcher there were many female scientists.  The majority were graduate students and post docs, with few female professors.  The majority (>75%) of principle investigators were men.  The few female PIs were generally regarded as mean, tough and difficult to work with.  I worked with many of them and did not find any of the female PIs to be more demanding than the men.  I think people take criticism from a woman more personally than they do a man and therefore view a female authority figure as bitchy.  When in fact, they are just doing their job.

This year, more women received doctorates than men for the first time in history.  And yet, this was the first Winter Olympics with women's ski jumping.  Apparently it was not believed women could provide Olympic level competition!!  Seriously!  It's a scary event, but it's sliding down a long slide on skis and landing safely.  Women can do that.

Now, I'm not a feminist.  My husband is the head of our home.  I love a statement by Candace Cameron-Bure where she explained the success in her marriage was due to submitting to her husband.  Now, she in no way meant that her husband was her boss and said that it's difficult to make any relationship work with two strong leaders.  She's absolutely right.  I once worked at a retail store where two managers were battling for supremacy.  All that resulted was confused cashiers and a messy store.  When both the husband and wife try to be the leader, the result tends to be a lot of fighting.  That does not mean the husband should be a dictator.  A good leader listens to people and considers their thoughts and feelings.

The truth is we won't truly be equal until we get to a place where a woman CEO is no longer introduced as a woman, but just as the CEO.