Archive for the ‘Sound Off’ Category

February Already

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

A personal note to my 2pennies readers:

We are just about settled in to our new lives in Atlanta and I am starting to eke out some free time to blog again. It had been hard finding resources, from pediatricians and dentists to preschools and playdates, for Oliver and Evelyn . I joined a local MeetUp group for moms and gathered some great referrals.  Thankfully, the kids are all set to go now.  We even have a local “emergency contact”!  I never knew how difficult it was to get things going with kids unless you have a local, non-family member to use as a contact person in case the hubby or I get squished.

The house is as setup as it’s ever going to be, considering that we plan to buy a house over the summer.  The boxes that remain have been relabeled and permanently stored.  I’m relieved to finally be done with boxes.  I’m going to a class on Tuesday about how to buy “distressed properties”.  Apparently, we are bored without a house to constantly work on ad infinitum.  Okay, okay – the hubby is bored without constantly having a project to do.  I already told him that he’ll have to hire himself a sidekick as I’m still traumatized from flipping our old house last summer.

The hubby and I haven’t explored the city yet.  Of course, I know where all the cool kid’s places are, but I don’t think the hubby would enjoy Monkey Joe’s as much as Oliver does.  We found a place that does drop off child care on the weekends and the kids absolutely love spending time there.  We plan to use them a few times so we can get out and about when the weather warms up.

I have a dozen or so posts just waiting to be downloaded from my camera.  I’m crossing my fingers that my free time continues so I can catch up!

Happy New Year 2012!

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

All of us here, at 2Pennies2Rub, wish you and yours a very Happy New Year!

Busy 3 Weeks

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

We have almost been in Atlanta for 3 weeks.  A quick update – Evelyn has pretty much been sick the entire time.  Oliver goes bonkers when he is stuck in the house.  We’ve unpacked about 50% of the boxes and the house is still a wreck.  That’s pretty much it!  Well, not exactly…

I do make an effort to get the kids out at least 4 or 5 times a week, even if it’s just to the grocery store.  My new favorite after hours exercise joint for Oliver is Ikea!  I’ve been there a half dozen times already and at 8pm it’s a great big place for Oliver to explore (run around like crazy/jump on the beds).  We’ve also become regulars at Monkey Joe’s and found our nearest mall for some early morning running around to be finished off with mandatory train ride.  I took the kids to one of our parks nearby and WOW, the playground is freakishly huge.  The climbing structure is at least 3 stories high – crazy.  We also checked out the kid’s museum downtown and a local play center by our house.  Throw in trips to the grocery store, a doctor and emergency dentist visit and we’ve got a full plate.

When I have time to myself, I head out and explore.  I found myself a Thai grocery store the first week here and have been back and forth to downtown Atlanta a half-dozen times.  I don’t need a GPS to get to Ikea anymore!  I’ve learned all the major roads/highways and found the major shopping centers.  Sometimes, I’ll just pull into a shopping center at 11pm to see what’s around and learn where I’m at.

This weekend we are decorating for Christmas.  After years of skimping on the lights, we are going all out this year!  Griswald will be proud.  Since we don’t plan on being here for next Christmas, we want to give the neighbors something to talk about.  “Remember those crazy renters a few years ago with those strobe light candy canes?”

My laptop has been on the fritz for the past week, but I’m back up and running now.  I’m going to backdate some posts with pics asap!

Atlanta or Bust

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Goodnight and goodbye Raleigh, NC.   A little over a week ago (11/12/11), the kids and I pulled out of Raleigh and started down the road to Atlanta.  Eleven and one half hours later, we pulled into our new driveway.  Who knew Atlanta was so far away?

The hubby had flown in Thursday after work and we spent all day Friday packing the truck.  I was going to follow him down with the kids in the van around midnight, but instead I spent a good hour sifting through debris on the road after we lost all the boxes off the back of the truck due to an improperly latched door.  He had made it a good 5 or 6 miles down the interstate before a trucker alerted him.  I had gone to get the kids before he called to have me back track his route and look for our stuff.  Thankfully, most of the stuff dumped in one spot in our neighborhood and not on the main drag or interstate.  We were very lucky.  By the time we finished packing up and cleaning at 230am, the hubby had to go it alone as I had one too many “STELLA!!!” moments in the last 24 hours to continue.

The next day, or 10 hours later, our little van was packed to the gills.  Rather than wait until bedtime to take off, I ventured out at noon and prayed that the stress and lack of sleep from the 48 hours prior would knock their little butts out.  Well, that didn’t work.  We made it to Charlotte, NC in about 3 hours and I drove straight to the first hotel I saw and checked in.  Between my sleep deprivation and Evelyn’s constant high pitched crying someone was going to get seriously hurt.  Even though I didn’t get to sleep, the $40 we paid for 4 hours was well worth it.  Having a clean place to change diapers and feed them was worth the price alone.  I covered the floor with one of the bed comforters and had a bunch of catnaps while the kids played. 

When it was pitch black outside (8pm), we rolled out and the kids blessedly passed out within 5 minutes.

I woke them up for some exercise when we crossed into Georgia a little after 10pm.  Another hour and a half and we were pulling up to our new house.  In some ways it worked out better that the kids and I came later.  The kids weren’t underfoot when the truck was being unloaded and the house was being setup.

Since being here, I’ve been homesick quite a lot.  It didn’t really hit me until this last weekend when I told Barry that we should have the gang over for dinner now that the kitchen was put together.  I still feel like I can pop over to my friend’s house or head down to Marbles or that someday, Oliver will go back to school and Evelyn and I can get groceries together.  It will take time to adjust, but at least we made it here safe and sound.

Speaking of making it here, without my friends, family, and a few paid helping hands this wouldn’t have been possible.  Thanks to Tracey for making us food to eat that last week of packing.  Thanks to Ron for killing spiders and cleaning out my shed (I know we have a lot of paint, okay?).  Thanks to Tabatha for watching the kiddos all those nights so I could run errands and see my friends.  Thanks to Melanie for helping with the packing, watching Evie, and bringing yummy pizza.  Thanks to Tania for putting us in a hotel, watching the kids, and helping us pack.  I bet Tania also plays a mean game of Jenga after watching her pack the van with an additional 3 boxes and 7 plants that I couldn’t fit!  A big thanks to my brother who helped us cut the cord and push us out of our house at 11pm on Friday night.  It was rough getting rid of things we couldn’t fit and cleaning the house when it was empty.  Our backs thank the 4 movers who helped Barry load and unload the truck .  Lastly, we thank Nana and Grandpa Norton for helping us get the house setup in Atlanta and for helping with the kids while we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off.

By the way, our house closed without a hitch last week.  Let the new adventures begin!

Winds of Change

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

The cat is out of the bag — we are moving to Atlanta folks.

In what has been a flurry of activity, the hubby applied and interviewed for a job in Atlanta last week.  They told him this week that he got the job and he starts next Wednesday.

So much for taking it easy and waiting for the house to sell!  We’ve spent the last 7 nights going through scenario after scenario.  What do we do about the house?  What about Oliver’s school?  How can we afford two households?  How will mommy survive by herself without selling the kids at the flea market?  How will the hubby get there?  Should we move too?  Where’s he going to stay? 

The minute we found out he got the job, we sketched out a quick plan. 

Step 1: Buy the hubby a reliable car.  Check (gotta love the crown vic). 
Step 2: Get rid of the Maxima.  Check (we sold it for scrap). 
Step 3: Get the hubby some housing. Check (found a room to rent on Craigslist).
Step 4: Update business wardrobe.  Check (Joseph A. Banks has a sale going on right now).
Step 5: Pack and make shopping list of necessities.  We are doing this tomorrow.

5 Steps in 5 Days.  Not too shabby.  The bigger picture is that he will go down and share a house for a month or two while he aquaints himself with the city.  Meanwhile, I will do my research up here and send him apartment/house hunting after hours.  He will come home on the weekends until we move down there – probably in November.  We are dropping the price on our house in October and hopefully we’ll find a buyer soon.

The hubby spent last Friday tooling around Atlanta and he really likes it.  He said it was like Baltimore on steroids.  Atlanta is much, much bigger than Raleigh, so we’ll have to see.  I will like having new things to do.  I’ve visisted Atlanta a dozen times and haven’t seen it all yet. 

There are a million details that I have left out (our walls are plastered with decision charts), but we’ll work it out as we go.  I am the queen of “If this then that” thinking.  No sweat.  (YIKES!)

Bought a New Used Car

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

We took our 1996 Maxima in to see what it would take for it to pass inspection and be trip worthy.  They came back with a detailed list and a grand total of $4,400 for the repairs.  $4,400 is worth more than the blue book value of the car!  We decided to bite the bullet and bought a “new” car today.

I searched on www.autotrader.com for 4-door sedans, less than 70,000 miles, and less than $6,000.  This 1999 Ford Crown Victoria popped up for $5,800 with only 61,000 miles.  I showed it half-jokingly to the hubby and he fell head over heels for it!  It’s an old fogey mobile! He said, “Didn’t you know you married an old fogey?  See?  I have grey hair right here…”  geez.

This car had a clean Carfax report, had one owner (an old man), and had all the maintenance records dating back to 1999.  There’s one scratch on the body, but otherwise, the car is in immaculate condition.  I couldn’t believe how well maintained it was.

Tell me this doesn’t look like a cop car 100%.  Look at that rear!  You can fit alot of junk in this trunk.

We ended up buying the car on the spot (after talking them down $300) and my hubby got his Foginator.  He loves how much room there is inside.  He is a big dude and he always felt cramped, near claustrophobic, with all the kids in the Maxima.  But that’s not the best part.

On the way home, the cars parted like the Red Sea when he drove up behind them.  Driving a classic cop car make/model does have it’s perks when you are trying to get from point A to point B.  I told him he needs to install a ski rack to really freak people out.  :-)

(btw – they wouldn’t touch the Maxima with a ten foot pole.  They suggested junking it…)

Momma’s Little Helper

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Sadly, we won’t be listing the house this week.  We tried everything and gave it our all, but mother nature gave us a smackdown.  Oliver brought home some nice little germies from his new preschool and we’ve been running a sick house all weekend.   Oliver bounced back after a couple days, but poor Evelyn is still snotty and congested.  Barry is getting run down and I’ve been sneezing my head off all day. 

We’ve kept Evelyn in a little hoodie to keep her warm.  She is too cute, even when she’s sick!

To make up for lost time, I put Oliver to work painting the shed today.  He loved it!  He was totally absorbed for 45 minutes straight and only stopped when I made him go inside for lunch.

He was very careful not to spill his paint and even let the excess drip off his brush into his cup without being told to do so.  He kept the paint off the bricks and didn’t get too much on himself.

While I finished one side, I sent Oliver to start on the next side.  He was actually painting all by himself!  I should have put him to work about 6 weeks ago…

Tonight, I finished painting the front porch ceiling, rails, floor, and steps.  I also finished the doors for the base cabinet, got 2 loads of laundry done and did the dishes.  Too bad house work won’t sell the house! 

The realtor will be out on Friday to guide us through the weekend.  We plan to list next week.   Our task list is shrinking and we are down to the little things now.  I just hope I don’t get too sick or we are sunk.  Cross your fingers everyone!

Beat the heat and get things done

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

How do you let your two year old get some exercise when it’s sweltering outside?  Give him a water hose!  I dressed him in his thinnest jammies, so the bugs wouldn’t eat him, and let him get drenched with the hose.  He LoVeD it!

Come rain or shine, we still have to press on with the work.  In between torrential rain showers, I sprayed my dining room chandelier with a coat of primer.  I’m experimenting with a paint technique to rejuvinate our dated brass fixture (blog post coming).

The hubby kept working on the bricks.  We’ve finished this side of the house and the curve going to the porch looks really good (blog post coming).

We are SO close to finishing this side of the house.  We have about 3 square feet of the patio by the gate to finish.  Though we love the rain, it was frustrating trying to work between the storms all day long.  We had hoped to brush sand/cement/mortar in between the bricks to set them, but it was entirely too wet to try.

Instead of fighting it, the hubby decided to go with the storms and wash the cars!  Hey, free rain water – why not?

Inside, I kept the kids hydrated to stay cool while we gave the A/C a break during the storms.  Evelyn drinks out of a big girl cup and it is too cute to hear her little teeth clinking on the glass.

She’s got 4 big chompers now and I can see a few more coming in.  She’s just shy of 9 months and I can’t believe how fast she is growing.

I tried to give Oliver a haircut to help him stay cool, but he was having none of that!  I think he’s still traumatized from the last hair cut I gave him.  Not sure what we’ll do this time around…

We are almost 100% finished with the kids’ rooms.  We hung all the curtains and valances today, changed out the last of the plugs for new ones, brought down the closet doors from the attic, and brought in some toys from the living room.  I have some cool ideas for making wall art to hang in each room that I will be working on this week.

I refused to touch the kitchen until we started wrapping up the other rooms.  We’ll start on the kitchen tomorrow and hopefully knock it out over the week.  We have a busy week with Oliver starting a new school, the realtor coming by to fill out paperwork, a couple doctor’s appointments, a playdate for Evelyn, and a trip to Marbles for a family night out.  Busy much?  :-)

Hope everyone has a great week ahead!

Home Renovation Blues

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

It’s been 2 months now since we started working on the house to get it ready for listing.  It seems that every time we get one thing done, 3 more problems need to get fixed. 

Last weekend, we evicted the kids from their bedrooms and had those painted head to toe.

Oliver actually likes crashing in our bedroom.  I think he likes being close to mommy at night.  At least, that’s how I’ll remember the story…

Evelyn loves the chaos.  Every day she has a new mess in the living room to explore.  She crawls around the boxes like they were her very own obstacle course.

Can you believe that we have run out of stuff to pack?  Between the yard sale, the storage unit, and donations to various centers, our house if pretty empty.  We just made a trip today to the Habitat ReUse Center with a van full of stuff to donate.

We manage to stay busy every day, every night, yet I still feel like we are so far away from listing.  Here’s what we did today:

– dug up the bricks from the side we did in 2008, cleared out all the weeds/debris, and relaid t hem.  finished 100% the bricks along the sidewalk to the house.  sunk the last metal supports for the brick patio.
– reinforced the kitchen floor from underneath the house in the crawlspace.
– cleaned both bathrooms, did the dishes, picked up the house, cleaned and vacuumed the kid’s rooms, actually took a shower in the morning, and squeezed in a 2 hour nap in the afternoon!  (these are huge accomplishments for me)
– cut the shelves for Oliver’s closet
– gave both kids a bath and got them squeaky clean.
– had home cooked food for all 3 meals (no Chick-fil-a this weekend) and precooked dinner for tomorrow.
– made a trip to the donation center.

Lastly, we finally watched a movie that we got from Netflix 2 months ago – the Departed.  Tomorrow, we have another jam packed day.  I cannot wait for all this mess to be finished!

Brickwork and Sanding Doors

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Our neighbors thought we were nuts to be working hard the day after the big sale.  They were all burned out!  We thought we were crazy too, but we have to keep on keeping on.  The hubby worked on the brick path for most of the day.  He spent the better part of his time shoveling in sand and tamping it down.

We tag teamed watching the kids today.  When the hubby took a break from the heat, I would run outside for my project.

When I was able to, I worked on sanding the doors and prepping them for paint.  We took off all the doors and the hardware this morning.  It’s weird not having doors, especially for the bathrooms.  I was able to putty holes and sand both sides by the time the kids went down for the night.

Evelyn has become a handful.  Where Oliver is laid back, Evelyn is raring to go, go, go.  She’s pulling up now and climbing.  She managed to climb on TOP of the coffee table by using a box as a step today.  Daddy dropped her crib down to its lowest level before she went to bed.  lol…

We both think Evelyn is a lot like me, whereas Oliver is like his dad.  Evie wants what she wants, when she wants it and doesn’t need, or want, any help to get it.  She already has a little ‘tude and has the smirky pout down pat.  (Sorry mom for giving you grief when I was little!)

The hubby got in his bricks lining the driveway by dinner time.  We are out of sand to brush into the cracks and have the “patio” area for the garbage cans left to do.  The hubby will have to make a trip to Lowe’s before he can finish.

Tomorrow, I get to paint the doors.  That will probably take me 2 days.  The realtor is coming on Tuesday to measure the exterior of the house and Friday to do the inside.  We are still shooting for July 10, depending on the counters.

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