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Saturday afternoon we had a house full of humans.

We threw a housewarming party, and road-tested the new digs. For the first time in our lives, we have a house big enough to party. A house big enough to hold our larger-than-average families. A house big enough to open.

I couldn’t sleep the night before because hello, of course I couldn’t, so even though the better part of last week was spent spending and shopping, and doing, I woke up at 3:00 AM to try to worry myself into a successful fête. I nudged Eric and told him I was too nervous about the party to sleep and he murmured mmm and promptly rolled over. I had made an Ina-worthy checklist the night before (complete with timetable, you guys) but I was still consumed by my trademark middle of the night anxiety. So I did what any good HSP does, and I got out of bed at 4:00 AM to start cooking.

Actually, nobody tells you this (bakers, maybe?) but 4:00 AM is a nice time to cook. It’s super quiet and nobody is trying to steal anything you make, and you can cook in your PJs without anyone’s judgy eyes on you. I flipped on Downton Abbey and Mrs. Patmore kept me company while I chopped brussels sprouts and dipped things in chocolate. Not for the same dish, no.

I felt a lot of pressure to entertain well–I always do–I come from a line of warm hosts and hostesses, of people who know how to put some cheeses on a plate and make you feel welcome AF. So I had convinced myself I needed to get this right. All week as I was shopping and cleaning and planning, I found myself wondering what my parents/aunts/uncles/grandparents would do, and when it came time to answer the door, I was happy with how that strategy served me. I don’t have it down, yet, but I learned from the best.

I prepped everything I could (which took me until about 8:30 or 9, who can remember?), showered, ran to JoAnn Fabric one more time because I CAN’T PARTY WITHOUT WASHI TAPE FOR LITTLE TOOTHPICK APPETIZER SIGNS, and was home in time to style the craft project that lives on top of my head. Side note: I gave up on dressing/styling myself for school back in about September, when the house crap hit the fan, and that added an extra level of difficulty/awkwardness to Saturday’s dressing, hair curling, and heel-wearing. All was well, but my current girl game is weak. Perhaps I will continue to dress like a male PE coach for the remainder of the year and then style myself like a lady again for the fall of 2016.

Anyway. The party was a smash, and not because of anything I did–it was wonderful because my husband worked his tail off getting the constructiony things done, and I had help doing the kitcheny stuff, and my house was filled with love and friends and people who like us. People who were like damn, that was kind of an ordeal getting into this place, you guys, but hey why don’t you walk me around and point at your rooms? We had neighbors come by, old friends, new friends, family, and friends who are like family. Just the best mix of people.

By 7:30 PM my eyes were too tired to read, and I fell asleep at 8:00 without remembering to eat any dinner.

Sunday I just floated around on my cloud of clichés. I am lucky as all get out to have such a beautiful family, lucky to know so many wonderful people, lucky to have a home to bring everyone together. This feels like our grown-up house, like the space where we get to grow into the life we wanted at 19 (before we had any kind of clue how to get it).

Teach Something Besides English

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Don’t become an English teacher. Ever. And if you do, don’t choose to also be a writer, because that’s like living in the week before finals with three essays due tomorrow for the rest of your life. You don’t want a stack of papers like this one staring you down all weekend when you need to finish reading a book. And I did it to myself. I have nobody to blame for that stack of writing next to the pumpkin. This is my job for the next 30ish years and it’s never going to not be like this.

Anyway, an update, because I’m avoiding that stack. I haven’t wanted to write much since we were in the throes of a real estate deal that was trouble every step of the way, and I was afraid I would somehow accidentally blow it by saying something wrong. But the house is ours now (in name, at least), and (I realize I am tempting fate by writing this down–) we should get to move in next Saturday when the sellers’ rent-back ends. I am just going with blind faith at this point; I have no actual evidence that this will happen, and based on how everything else has gone, I’d be a fool to count on it. But thinking that it might not happen isn’t going to do much for me except keep me awake at night, and I’ve maxed out my anxiety allowance. The good news is that the house is technically ours, we just don’t live in it yet. So you can decide for yourself how thrilled I should be about that, but I will say September 19 looks a whole lot better than September 5.

So, here’s what happened. We got an offer on our house and they wanted a short escrow. We jumped at it because it was a cash offer and we were contingent on our offer at the other house. We got out of the house in two weeks, and we moved into my grandma’s halfplex which she is not currently using, and where she (and my dad and his siblings) are generously allowing us to stay. Phew. But all things plumbing-related went haywire as soon as we moved in, and when Eric went to fix them, they fell apart in his hands. Within a few days, the sewer line backed up and couldn’t be repaired. So that became a thing.

I’ve been hesitant to write about anything–house, school, health–because there’s a fine line between saying what’s happening if it’s not good, and complaining. We are completely dependent on others right now for a place to live until our house is available, and I am not ungrateful or unappreciative of all the help that’s being given to us. And there are so many people in the world and even in my town who don’t have a secure place to live for a much longer term than this. But the honest truth is that things have been hard. Really damn hard.

When school starts, it always takes a month or two for me to find a groove with my new students–to learn their needs, to figure out their personalities, to adapt my curriculum for whatever new thing I’m teaching. And that’s a normal year when I don’t have a week of jury duty, hysterectomy pain, and no home. At 12 weeks out from my surgery, I was still bleeding and having pain, I couldn’t stand up for a full day yet, our sewer line was spraying the front lawn with disgusting things, and I wasn’t certain that the sale of our house was going to go through (after we’d already left our old one). Again, my home situation is better than it could be. I am not homeless. But not having a place to sit down and relax (or use the toilet, shower, etc) at the end of the night made me kind of batty and tearful.

So where are we now? Things are looking up. The new sewer line is in, the new house finally closed escrow, I’m finally learning my students’ names, and I’m checking things off each day that need to get done.  We should move next weekend. I’m not doing any of this with ease, and that’s making me frustrated, but we’re not going to hit ease until at least mid-October, I think. It was hard to say goodbye to our old house even though we know we’re going somewhere that we really like. Not having that place to move into directly from our old house meant the kids were emotional, too. But we are all here together and that’s what’s making it bearable. I’ve never been so glad for my own bed, my three other Partingtons, or my pets. Here are a few pictures from the last few weeks. Mostly things that I wanted to remember from the old house, but a few happy moments when we caught a break.Untitled

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Hopefully we continue on an upward trend.

It’s time.

house2Remember that one time when I complained about being bored all summer, and then in the span of a week everything happened?

I’ve been sleeping and binge-watching my way through my break from school, trying to wait it out for August 4, the date on which I am cleared to act like a normal human who does normal human activities again. I’m so close! (And I only get 6 days of glorious full-fledged personhood before I have to go back to work, but so what. I’ve made my peace.) While I was waiting and lamenting how much this summer vacation really blows, we decided to change everything.

We went to an open house because we were bored. And then we went to another one and then we made an appointment to see another house and then we were like well, we’re this far into it and we made an appointment to see one more, and it’s the exact thing we want. And I told Eric we should just go ahead and fill out the loan paperwork so we can see where we stand. And where we stand is actually okay. So as of Wednesday night, we are selling our house.

We bought our current home when Addie was one and a half. The market was good enough that we could sell our starter duplex and move into something bigger–but even then, the something bigger was only going to be for about five years. We knew we wanted more kids, we knew those kids would someday be kind of tall, and we knew our three bedroom wasn’t going to be comfortable for too long. At the time, Eric was finishing college. As he graduated and moved on to law school, we thought for sure we’d be out of this house in no time. Heh.

Then, the market took a dump. Like so many people, we were upside down in our house. Though we tried to refinance under the many versions of HARP, we never quite qualified. And we couldn’t bring ourselves to do anything risky. So even though we’d periodically daydream about something larger (or an office for me!), we always found ourselves gritting our teeth and paying our mortgage, hoping that this wouldn’t be the house we’d have to retire in.

Luckily, in addition to being a smartypants lawyer, Eric is amazingly handy. He built a patio cover that gave us extra space. He upgraded pretty much every surface in our home and wired the entire thing for sound and internet. When we bought this place, it was all original and it was a mess. Now it’s a pretty sweet place to live. The one thing we couldn’t do was make the actual house bigger.

So this week we’re moving forward–doing what we hoped we could do about 6 years ago. It’s scary but it’s wonderful and I am basically a nervous wreck. The idea of trying to sell/buy/move while teaching and reviewing and parenting and trying to keep my shit together seems kind of insane. But it feels like it’s time.

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