Mar 26, 2009

Still my baby.


Last night after her bath, Grace decided she would be sleeping in her "mosey basket." I love that she still climbs in there, particularly since she claims she remembers when she was a baby and she "slept here with Mommy next to me." Lately I've been climbing into bed with her in the morning, which I love and she tolerates. (I'm looking forward to nights when she has nightmares so I'll have an excuse to wrap myself around her little body.)

When I was little my mom used to tickle my back when I was sick or upset, or just because she was my mom, something I still find so enjoyable I've been tempted to hire someone to do it by the hour. (Because it's never enough.) I couldn't wait to perform this service for Grace, but she didn't like it until one weekend spent with Gabba (my mom), who obviously has the magic touch. Now when I put her to bed she asks, "Tickle my back?" And when I stop she begs, "Tickle my back again?" Last night she looked up at me and whispered, "I love having my back tickled SO MUCH — it feels like being in the water with fish swimming all around me." That gave me even bigger goosebumps than a good back tickling does, because how in the world would she know what that feels like? Spooky.

I am now going to swear a lot. And use lots of ALL CAPS.

(An aside: a little old lady once scolded Michael for a mild expletive by telling him that swearing is how a weak mind expresses itself forcefully. He politely told her to fuck off. This is one of the many reasons I have decided to keep him.)

Remember how we found a sweet little bungalow that we intended to rent with a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the house until we became more... um, employed? Yesterday we were notified that the owner of the house next door was taking legal action to correct what is allegedly an encroachment on an easement between our two homes. HUH? We bought this house from a developer (i.e., one of Satan's minions) A YEAR AGO, after it had been finished and on the market for MONTHS, sold it THREE WEEKS AGO, were FIVE DAYS from closing, and this opportunistic, calculating little motherfucker waited until NOW — and here's my favorite part — to CALL OUR REALTOR to let her know this might cause a problem with the sale. Gosh, do you think? I reacted the way any normal person would, by having a hissy fit and treating our realtor, a good friend, as if the entire thing were her fault.

My first thought was that we had to keep our buyers from backing out of the sale, because I owe our landlord a shitload of money at the beginning of next month. All I could focus on was that this lowlife prick deliberately waited until the house sold so that he could screw up the sale and have a little leverage. And thank God, because I NEEDED A LITTLE MORE FUCKING STRESS IN MY LIFE.

Then I realized I should figure out if there was any merit to his claims. So I dug up the paperwork from the sale and realized very quickly that I had absolutely no idea what any of the fucking words on the paper actually meant. All those documents you sign when you buy a house, while the escrow officer rattles off what each means faster than the list of possible side effects on a prescription medication commercial? No big deal that you scribble your signature without even pretending to read anything — until something goes wrong. I went to bed last night fuming that there are so many people involved in the sale of a house who make an obscene amount of money doing little more than pushing papers around, yet when there is a problem they all have their heads up there asses and their fingers pointing at someone else. The truth is, for a number of reasons, I am completely alone in this.

This morning I made an appointment to meet with a lawyer I can't afford, went and picked up the keys to a home we may not be able to rent, met with a mover we might not need, and finished up a punchlist of repairs on a house we probably can't sell. I'm tired, broke and wondering what the hell I did in a previous life that my karma is so fucked up. (All the swearing?) The rest of the day I spent being quietly furious and rude to people, on the phone and in person: the developer, the title company, the douchebag's lawyer, the people that rent the house, their dog, etc. Grace was all, "Mommy, you're not using your nice voice."

The neighbor's lawyer faxed a letter to my realtor, and she emailed it to me because I had yet to see anything in writing regarding the issue that is threatening to push me over the edge. Here's my favorite part:

"In order to preserve the value of my client's property, he must insist the property be put back in its previous condition which could include moving a portion of your house."

Moving the house was definitely not on the repairs addendum.

Mar 13, 2009

We're moving — again!

We put the house on the market Mar. 3rd, sold it Mar. 5th and agreed to close Mar. 30th. I was NOT prepared for this, and would have remained in denial until the new owners showed up with a moving truck, had Michael not suggested, "Um, you think this weekend might be a good time to look for rentals?" Lo and behold, the perfect little house was waiting for us, and the landlord was kind enough to rent to someone with no income but lots of cash (from the house sale). It's tiny, adorable and two blocks from my very favorite playground and dogpark. I never thought I would be so excited to lose my status as landowner (!), but there is so much to look forward to in our new home, I'll have to write more later...

Beautiful mind

Grace has been blowing me away lately with her intellectual, conceptual and potty progress, and I imagine it's just a matter of time before she'll start using words I'll have to look up.


I should wake up this chipper.


Installation with Multimedia by Grace. Note the use of maracas, a harmonica and a Nutcracker cartridge from a musical toy. Before I was able to capture the row of dinosaurs guarding this tower, I slipped and knocked it over. Like daughter, like mother?

Mar 6, 2009

A man handed me money for my book.

I've been blogged out lately, mostly because if I had written anything it would have gone something like, "Still no job, waiting for the book to start selling, gotta unload the house, poor me, blah blah blah." In my defense, this is my bitching blog, but at a certain point even I get tired of my whining. (Tangent: a friend told me that a relative of hers, who doesn't know me but reads my blog, was surprised at how angry I seemed in some of my posts, which cracked me up. If I sound pissed off, it's because LIFE IS DIFFICULT FOR ME RIGHT NOW. I apologize if I'm bringing you down, but Kelly Ripa I am not.)

Anyway, the house sold after two days on the market, full price, closing March 31st. Yay! I don't even have to make another mortgage payment, assuming all goes according to plan (knock on wood). Now my most pressing challenge is to find an apartment to rent even though I have no income. Baby steps.

But just now, something truly blog-worthy happened. I've been schlepping all over Portland convincing bookstores to take a few copies of Soft Landing on consignment, which has been surprisingly easy. I've also been chasing individual sales, actually reminding people that they promised to buy my book, and hey, did you get it yet? I feel like a dirty whore, frankly — until someone calls or emails saying they couldn't put the book down and how could I make them miss American Idol last night? Then it's all worth it and I have a glimmer of hope that things might happen on a larger scale. BUT, and this is a big but, I was just on my way out of a store after doing my spiel, when a man called out, "How much does it cost?" I had to think about that for a minute, because it's $17.95 (expensive for a paperback) and I didn't want him to laugh at me, but I also wondered where he was going with it. So I told him, and he pulled out his wallet, handed me a twenty and took a book DIRECTLY FROM ME. While I fumbled making change (20 - 17.95 = 2.05, right?), he explained that he liked supporting people who write. How fucking cool is that? I thanked him about six times, and walked out of there grinning like an idiot. I believe that no matter what happens in the next months (or years), that will always remain my favorite sale.

Paradise, part III

Until my mom sends the photos she shot, this concludes the Sequim vacation series. I promise.


My mom has been collecting old ladders, and I love how they look scattered about the orchard.


These trunks captivated me for some reason. They look like bones that have been picked clean. Very wintry.


It won't be long before all the buds start blooming and my parents' property is awash in color.


I'm afraid I've seen Max for the last time. He probably wondered why I kept lying on the floor next to him, crying.


Big bunny. GIGANTIC TV. 'Nuff said.