Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lexi Time

Lexi, January, 2013
It seems my daughter missed me as much as I missed her.  So, last weekend she loaded up the baby and headed to Kansas City.  Yes, I'd seen her the weekend before when she got home, but it was such a quick visit; we had little time to enjoy each others company.

Our visit was delightful.  Kate and I spent our time vastly entertained by the antics of the baby. 

We spent three whole days on Lexi time.  On Lexi time, you get up early, but you get to take naps.  You go to bed early.  You take longer to eat because you stop to closely examine and enjoy your food.  It takes longer to walk anywhere, because you have to stop and look at all the interesting stuff you see as you journey.

You don't worry about getting your socks and pants wet as you discover the joys of going in and out of the shower.  Open the door, close the door.  In, out.  Smile broadly every time you manage to open and close the door.

You delight in learning new things.  She was having a hard time turning one of my lamps on and off.  (It has one of those switches where if you turn it the right way, it switches, but if you turn it the wrong direction, it just unscrews itself.)  But she kept trying it.  And every time she managed to make it work, she'd turn around, clap her hands and say, "Yay!"  (I need to remember that for myself - to say "Yay!", if only to myself, when I manage to master a task...)

She is amazingly well behaved in restaurants, as long as you bring a large supply of toys.  (any one item holds her attention for, at most, five minutes.)  She managed to charm all the tables around us by watching the door; every time someone left, she'd call out, "Bye!", in her toddler voice - the one that carries further than you'd often like it to, especially when they're upset.

She is a city child.  One afternoon, it was quite warm, and we took her out for a walk.  She was fine as we headed down the sidewalk, but when the concrete ended and we had to walk on the grass, she didn't care for it.  She kept heading for the street, we kept heading her off.  A block or so down, we came to a roped off parking lot.  She was delighted, and just loved running around - finally, the proper surface upon which to play!  (Kate PROMISED to get her out to parks more often come spring...)

It was a right proper weekend, if I do say so myself.  As always, when they left, they took a piece of my heart with them as they drove away...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Lexi, Oct. 2012
Kate, my daughter has been doing research in the Antarctic for the past 2 1/2 months.

It's been a hard time for her, and for those of us who love and missed her, especially over the holidays. 

Her daughter, at eighteen months, probably had the easiest time of all of us.  While she most certainly missed her mother, she is young enough to not yet have a sense of yesterday or tomorrow.  As near as we could tell, from her point of view, Mama wasn't here right now because Mama had gone away to live in the iPad.  (they got to see each other a few times via Skype, and so she figured that's where Mama had gone.  Whenever she saw one of the devices, she'd point to it and say, "Mama!")

I was telling the people at work about Kate and the baby and how long she'd been gone and how much we missed her and how much I'd love to see the baby's face when she finally got to see her mama again, when I stopped and thought, "why not?  It takes her 36 hours to get home, I can get to Minnesota in eight. hmmmm..."  

So, when Kate e-mailed this past Saturday morning, to let me know she was coming home, I decided to put my wild idea about driving up to meet her plane into play.  I called Joe, who dropped everything and headed back to Kansas City from Rolla.  I called Vincent, to find out exactly when she was due in, and to make sure he didn't mind if we joined him to pick her up at the airport.  I sent a note into work to let them know I wouldn't be in on Monday.  Sunday morning, Joe and I left for Minnesota.  (The weather gods cooperated - it was clear and cold; no precipitation coming down to slow us down.)

We got there just in time to stop at the house, drop off our car, and climb in with Vincent and the baby.  As we were pulling up to the baggage claim area, Kate called to let us know she was in.  (Vincent had inadvertently ruined the surprise when Kate's plane was delayed in Chicago, and let her know we were coming.  Oh, well - this way she had something to look forward to on the last leg of her flight.)  Joe went in first, to help her with her bags, and when they didn't come out right away, I followed with the baby (leaving Vincent at the curb in the car).

As I walked inside, I was telling Lexi, "there's Mama.  See, there's Mama!"  She didn't get it.  She was looking around, but all she saw was a crowd of people.  But Kate heard me, and started towards us.  I was watching Lexi's face as she saw her beloved Mama come into focus.  Her eyes grew wide, as if she didn't quite understand what she was seeing.  Then, as she began to believe, she smiled a little half smile.  When Kate came near and it was clear that she was REALLY here, the half smile turned into the biggest smile ever.  Mama was home!  She had gotten out of the iPad to come home!

Those few moments made the trip worthwhile.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

House Hunting

I wouldn'a thunk it.

House buying is hard work.

These past two weeks of dipping my toes into the real estate market from the buyer's side have been most enlightening.  and frustrating.

I've never looked for a house to buy before.  My ex-husband found both the houses we bought before we split up.  I stayed in the second for 24 years before selling it so I could go on my adventure.

I thought it was easy.  You look at the listings, pick the top ten in your price range, go look at them, and buy the one you like the best.  Somehow, it never occurred to me that I'd not be able to find ten I'd even want to consider, or that the first four I'd look at would ALL be unsuitable.  I mean, of course I know people that have had problems finding the right house, but I somehow just figured they were too picky.  or something.

I knew real estate only from the seller's side (in a down market at that).  The sprucing the place up to appeal to buyers.  Making my bed EVERY morning, lest they call to schedule a showing that day.  The nervous tension when the real estate company called to schedule a showing.  The disappointment when the house didn't meet their needs - again.  The self-doubt about the price the paint the floors the kitchen, as the months passed and the house sat on the market.

I never thought about the buyer's frustrations.  What they call a second bedroom, I call a porch.  Those stairs could more accurately be called a ladder - I can't imagine carrying groceries or laundry up and down.  You access the master bedroom off the back porch?  Really?  One house had some appeal, until I looked at the surrounding places, and the junk they'd stored on their handy front porches.  Nix that one, too.  **sigh**

I know, I know.  I've just started looking.  Good thing I started before I HAD to move.  (I have new-found sympathy for people who relocate and have to find a house in a weekend or two of touring.)  There are three more houses on my short list; I'll look at those sometime next week.

Stay tuned...