Sunday, July 31, 2011

Our "cabin"

Well this past week has been interesting, to say the least.....

On Monday, I was starting the morning with my usually phone calls to any place that I could find for rent to see if we could find a place. I called one lady who had 2 rentals about 30 miles south of Bemidji. She told me right away that both of them are rented but asked if I would like to leave my name and number and if something fell through, she could call me. I declined and said that if I couldn't find anything in the next couple days, I'd call her back and check the status since I didn't really want to live there anyway because they were trailer houses. Well, she called me back a few minutes later (info taken from the caller id) and said that she called the people for one of the rentals and found out that they had broken up and didn't need a place anymore, so she had one available. I said I would come look at it.

Well, long story short, it became our rental. It's a older 2 bedroom trailer house. It's actually a bitter-sweet thing. It's exactly what we've been wanting and praying for...close(r) to Nathan's work show up, it's south so it's closer to home and shaves about 35 mins off our drive time (not to mention gas money!), and it has a large, beautiful, secluded yard for the kids to play in. The few things that it doesn't or does have that we didn't exactly pray for is that it seems to have a big mouse problem (which has been really gross), it's not exactly clean or even close to, and it has no air conditioning. But it does have a (modern) one stall attached garage with 6 huge windows in it which makes it great to play in when it's raining and it gives the kids a big extra area to ride their scooters. It also has a cement patio in the back with a big picnic table that we can use...which is on the side of the house that faces the yard and the woods, giving it a super peaceful feel out there.

When we moved in on Tuesday, I vacuumed and wiped down all the floors, counters, cupboards, everything with rubbing alcohol so I could feel a little disinfected. I actually felt a lot better before going to bed that night but then was very disheartened when we woke up to find mouse droppings all over the kitchen counter, two holes in our bread bag with 4 pieces of bread eaten from, droppings all over the clean dishes in the dish rack.....yuck! Well, we learned quick to put everything, even crackers, in the fridge so it is safe from the mice :) We set out traps last night where we thought they were coming onto the counters, only to find more droppings this morning so we think they are coming in through the stove. We rigged the whole place with traps and hope to find them all full when we come back after the weekend :)

We get a kick out of the landlord too. She's an older lady, I'd guess in her early-mid 70s, but sometimes I wonder about her. For example, when I was checking out the place, she was sure to tell me about the 2 switched on top of the stove... “One is for the light by the microwave and the other is a safety switch for the oven. The oven will not lite if this is flipped.” So making sure I understood her... “Okay, so all I have to do is turn the temp dial and it should turn on”. “Yes, and if it doesn't, it's because this switch needs to go the other way.” “Okay, got it.” Well, in the evening when I was trying to see if the oven worked, after I found out that the stove didn't work, I flipped that switch, only to find out that it was the oven light! Hahaha...ok, switch...try oven light! :)

Another thing she told me was about this water softener that was in the 2nd bedrooms closet. She says “Oh, and we still need to plug that in...” But then later when her daughter was there (who also takes care of the rentals) says “Don't worry about that softener in that closet, we need to come and get that, but whatever you do, don't plug it in or it will clog up all the pipes.” Then the older lady pipes in “Yeah, and we think it's stolen!” Uh...ok....

Then, again when she was showing me the house, she notices this device that's plugged into the wall in the living room “What the heck is that?!?” she asks. “I'm not sure...looks like some sort of serge protector or something?” “Well, I'm sure it's Dougs (guy who lived there before us), I'll hold it ransom...he still owes me $100.” And then a different time she was over she asks “What is that?? We need to get it out of there.” I told her “It really doesn't bother me, it's fine if it stays.” Then when she was over (yeah she stops by a lot for various reasons) with her daughter, she goes, “You know what that is? (pointing to it) That's the thing that they use for the internet to go from DSL to whatever it is now. You know how I know??? Because I have one in my house too.” WHAT?! You just asked me for the last 3 days what it is and now you're saying you have one?? Ok..... :)

And then probably the funniest thing she said was when she was talking about how she doesn't allow animals in her rentals, cats especially (which is probably why there are so many mice!). So she says about cats... “Yeah, if you see one, and you're good with a gun, kill it.” Haha...just picture an old lady saying was funny. :)

A few “incidents” already....
Not even 20 minutes after I picked up the keys and was unloading the van, I looked at my phone and saw that I had a voicemail from the landlord. I listened to it and she said that the neighbor next door had called her and said that some kids were trying to open her door and were playing in her bird bath in her lawn. Oh great! We haven't even been here a half hour and I'm already getting called about my kids! Well, it was Caedmon and Ariella who were the culprets and I think it was just that they figured that that was our place too, they were just excited to finally have some space! So after explaining that that was the neighbors and not ours, they haven't gone back over there :)

And yesterday, we were outside playing when I realized that Tiernan had gone in for something and shut the door behind him (which is ironic that I think of it because he never shuts the door at home and we are constantly on him about that). Well, they have those knobs where you can turn them from the inside but they are locked on the outside. And yes, my keys were inside. 2nd day, we were locked out. Thankfully I had my phone so I didn't feel completely helpless but when I called my landlord to come less us in, she wasn't home. Maybe she just didn't hear the phone? Since she only lives 2 doors down, the kids and I walked over and yes, she was gone. wouldn't matter if Nathan got home because he didn't have a key anyway. What to do, what to do....I know! The windows were open last night...lets try them! No luck...front door locked, all the windows have screens on them and I coudln't get the screens out because of those black tabs were on the inside and I couldn't pop them out. Finally on one of the windows I noticed that the black tabs were on the outside, someone had put it in backwards! Yes! I whipped the screen off, only to remember I had locked the window in the morning after we closed it. Bummer!! After about another hour and lots of “I have to go potty”, I noticed that the window next to the window with the tabs outside that the frame on the screen was bent so I was able to get my finger in there and pop the screen out. Then I slowly tried the window, praying that it wasn't locked. And it wasn't! I slid it open a little and called for Tiernan. I lifted Tiernan up and her went thru and opened the front door. (Remember last time we did that in the camper?) I'm glad the neighbors next door had left, not sure what they would have thought about that!

So we are on the drive home, peace and cleanliness for 3 days, 4 nights...can't wait! I've never been so ready to take a shower! Yes there is a shower there but once you see my picture of it, you'll see why I just wait to get with no a/c we get all sweaty anyway.

I guess I'm starting to think of it as our own little cabin...we are there 4 days a week, and only 3 nights, we have to plan meals, put away our food so the animals/rodents don't get it, we go to sleep with the fan on full blast right next to us, it's up north in the middle of nowhere, it's by a lake (not on though), we live next door to some indians, we have no washer or dryer, there's poison ivy everywhere (which Brayan is covered in and Caedmon also has his fair share)...but the best part, we are all living under one roof. :)

Funny quotes from each of the boys at this place so far:

Brayan...”Mom, why does it smell like poop everywhere?” ...good question Brayan...

Caedmon to the landlord...”We don't really like this house because there are mouses everywhere.” ...couldn't have said it better myself...I was a little nervous once he started that sentence...didn't know where that one was going!

Tiernan...”One thing that's really weird about this house, there's no kitchen table!”. Nope, there's not. The kids sit on the floor and eat off of the top of the cooler and I stand, and Nathan sits on the cooler when he gets home. We have yet to eat on the picnic table but I'm thankful for it anyway!

So what do you think this week will hold?? Well, stay tuned and find out! :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Yay! Internet Finally!

I honestly can't remember the last time I sat down to write a blog post! Yikes! That must means it's been a little while....I know that we were in Blue Earth at that time so I will update it quickly from there.

By the way, I'm writing this in the car again (I'm not driving though...just in case you were wondering...I think that would be even worse than texting ;). It seems as though it is when I am forced to sit for an extended period of time is when I finally have time to blog.

So once we left Blue Earth, Nathan took 2-1/2 weeks off so we could be home and relax for awhile before moving again, this time up north! During those 2 weeks, we spent lots of time visiting with friends, getting caught up with some dear ones that we haven't seen for over 2 years! They have 4 children, 5 and under so with us together there is 8 children with Tiernan (6) being the oldest! It makes for a lively time but they all play so well that it really doesn't seem like that many kids most of the time.

All the kids...

The dads having fun on the scooters

We also were able to see some of Nathan's family we don't get to see very often...Sarah and her kids who we lived by in Virginia came to visit as well as his brother Jonathan and family from Texas. We got together with them a few times, at his sister's house for a meal and also at the splash pad to play. Jonathan has another foster daughter (Rita, 17..along with Alma, 16 who we met at Christmas) that is living with that we met for the first time during this visit as well so that was fun.

Rita with Ariella

Spending time at the park with Nathan's parents, his sister Amanda and family, his sister Sarah and family visiting from VA, his sister Maria & kids, and his brother Jonathan and family visiting from TX.

Nathan also spent a lot of time in our yard picking rock. Hours and hours and hours he raked, dug, picked up, and moved the rocks in our yard so when we seed, the grass will have a better chance of growing well. Although right now we've just let the weeds grow in the area that we didn't lay sod, and it actually looks kinda nice! They are thick enough that it almost looks like grass and when Nathan mows it, you can hardly tell the difference.

We spent some time at a "beach" on the 4th. It was this tiny little public access that had a ledge where you could put a chair and then a drop off to the rocks which led in to the water. Yeah, it wasn't exactly my was Nathan's. He bet me no one else would be there...and there actually was, so now that I think about it, he owes me a 30 min back rub...

So, after all that fun stuff was over, it was time to go back to work. That meant moving up to Bemidji!

He started this job, a line going from Bemidji to Grand Rapids, last Monday and it seems to be going alright for him...the only tiny problem is that we can't find a place to live!! This is my 8th or 9th time trying to find housing last minute but never had I had this much problem finding a rental, ever. Usually it might take a day or two of making a million and half phone calls but eventually we find a place. This is different. We have found nothing...zilch...nadda. I have been searching online, calling resorts, realtors, landlords, random people, banks, co-workers of in-laws brothers, you name it and everything is either 1) already rented, 2) too far in the wrong direction, 3) too expensive, or 4) requiring a long-term lease.

There was one place that we thought would be a good fit. It was in decent shape (horrible construction, but livable) that was a 1000 sq ft, 2 bed apt in a tri-plex that was made out of a pole shed....yes, fancy, I know. It was only 10 mins from Nathan's show-up for work, in the country, had great neighbors, and (relatively) inexpensive. I talked with the owner and everything seemed to be a go. He told me to fill out an app and we could move in the next day. Well, it was after I turned in the app that I didn't hear from him so I had to call him...not a good sign. “yeah, you have 4 kids?....Well, in my opinion it is not appropriate to have 4 children in a 2 bedroom.” UM, EXCUSE ME?!?! It's 1000 sq ft! Do you know how big our camper was?? Like 300 sq ft...I think we can handle 1000. Why don't you let US decide what's “appropriate” for our family?? I told the guy that we have a 3500 sq ft house back home and our boys still share a room, that's just how we live! So whatever, he wouldn't rent to us. So we were back to square one.

There is a slight possiblity of a town home in the city of Bemidji that would work out but again, I'm waiting for the owner to get back to the management to get back to me about when we could get in, etc. I'm not holding my breath, but I'm really hoping that it will work out because it's in a nice location, fairly reasonably priced and it's the only thing that we have on the table that the moment. I called a place yesterday that I spoke with the afternoon before who had a cabin south of town. We decided we would tell the guy we'd take it without even looking at it bc it had what we were looking for but once I called him, it had already been rented. So anyway, that has been and is our struggle with this move.

So where are we staying in the meantime?? At my cousins house of course! :) My cousin, Gina, and her family live in Bemidji and have been sooo kind and generous to offer us their son's bedroom to stay in while we look for a place to live! I seriously don't know what I would do if I had to do all this searching and being so stressed with finding a place if we were in a hotel...I would probably pull out all my hair. So it has worked out so nice. Nathan and I get the double bed and the kids all surround us on the floor. Gina does daycare during the day, which makes things even more fun :) The kids wake up in the morning, we eat breakfast and outside they go! She has 2 kids of her own...8 yr old Braden and 5 yr old Ava...and then anywhere from 3 to 6 daycare kids. We buy all our own groceries and Gina and I just take turns in the kitchen making meals for our respective children and families. It has worked out just great! And for some evenings we've had places to store, resorts to try to find housing, etc, so it gives them time to themselves and then we go home on the weekends so they have some space as well.

And as of this week, Nathan said they are working 50 hours in 4 days, 12-13-13-12, so if we still don't have a place by the weekend, we'd at least be able to get out of their hair on Thursday night. :) The kids are really enjoying themselves and Gina and I enjoy the adult conversation we get during the day which neither of us usually have!

Oh! I almost forgot to mention too that our house is for sale!! Yep, that's of last monday our house is officially on the market. We love our house but Nathan wants to be completely debt free and once we are, we will be able to move back and start our farm. We can't exactly start it with being on the road and he needs a job to pay for a house, so until it sells we are kinda stuck where we're at. So let me know if anyone knows of anyone who wants a beautiful, custom home on 5.1 acres in the country just 10 minutes from St. Cloud!

Being together as a family is the most important thing to us right now and we are obviously sacrificing a lot for that to happen but to us, it is totally worth it. I have a husband, my husband has a wife, and my kids have a dadddy. Nothing can beat that. I was given this quote my a friend of mine and I absolutely love it....

“Parents often forsake their children (or their spouse) for jobs, ministries, sports and pleasures, all of which pass very quickly. Men need to feel like what they do for a living is important. However, the reality is that many men soon realize that what they did for their company can, and will be, replaced shortly after they leave...We can all be replaced in the workforce, but NEVER replaced in the home. Whatever we may accomplish in our jobs is nothing compared to what we can accomplish in our homes. I understand we must work to live, but we do not have to live to work. I pray we will work for what will remain after we leave this life.” Jeffery A. Klick from the book called Generational Impact.