Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Oh baby, can't we give it one more try? Or, does anyone want to buy a house in Connecticut? I didn't think so



We haven’t sold our old house in Mulletville Lite yet. Two months ago, when we moved out, we ran out of room in the damn moving truck, so we took only what we absolutely needed.

Life in our new house was glorious those first few weeks, when all we had was what we absolutely needed.

If we could have left all the other shit at the old house, we would have. But if we ever hope to sell it, it has to be empty. Obviously. So for the last two months, whenever we have a spare moment, Chuck and I flip a coin to see who gets to make the hour-long pilgrimage back to Mulletville Lite to pack up the car and drive more stuff to our new house.

Every time, it seems, it’s me. And every time I go back, I walk into our old house and am dumbfounded by the amount of stuff that’s still there.

I blame the children.

No, really.

Before they arrived, Chuck and I enjoyed a minimalist lifestyle. When we drank all our booze we recycled the bottles, so they never accumulated. When we finished eating cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we recycled the boxes, so they never accumulated. There was no pre-, during- and post-pregnancy weight gain, so I owned maybe 1 pair of skinny jeans instead of 50. Ditto for Chuck. We slept in one bed, owned 1 blanket, and on Christmas gave each other 1 gift, which we recycled after we finished drinking it.

Then, bam, fucking kids. We SWORE we would never be “those parents” who let unlimited toys and useless crap into our home, but it happened. Grandparents snuck it in. Birthday parties happened. We loosened our stance.


Soon there were wooden trains, wooden train tracks, plastic trains, plastic train tracks, trucks, cars, bath toys, dress up clothes, teepees, marbles, Nerf guns and pellets, baseballs, remote control toys, robots, stuffed animals, figurines, Hot Wheels tracks, sparkly glue, video game consoles and controllers, kites, silly putty, bicycles, sleds, scooters, board games, books, stickers, coloring books, markers, soccer balls, bouncy balls, crayons, paint sets, easels, chalk, LEGOs, blocks, bubbles, lanterns, spy sets.


I’m not only disgusted by the amount of stuff my children have, I’m disgusted by the amount of time I’ve spent organizing and keeping track of it. I’ve probably lost 5 years of my life reuniting LEGO pieces with their sets, or sorting piles of cars and trucks, or chasing marbles down flights of stairs. Now, packing it up, I’m disgusted by the amount of broken plastic shit and useless junk I’m sending to landfills.

It’s not all the children’s fault, of course. Yes, they spent hours on the Island of Sodor and building LEGO sets, but we should have been more firm. And Chuck and I are just as guilty of accumulating stuff we don’t need. Candles, blankets, camping gear, picture frames. You name it, it’s in the basement. It needs to get the hell out of there — so what can’t go to Goodwill or animal shelters or local charities gets schelpped into the car and to our new house.

I won’t lie, though. I like going back to Mulletville Lite. It is kind of like having good break-up sex.

I get to stand in the kitchen, close my eyes and just remember what it was like to live there. I get to spend time in the neighborhood. There’s comfort in seeing the neighbor leaf blowing his leaves, in hearing the neighbor’s kids on their trampoline, in smelling the damp leaves through the windows. For those glorious few moments it’s just me and the old house.

Then I get to leave and be all kissy kissy with my new house.


I know it’s ending soon — we have to sell before our bank account is empty of its last few cents — but for now, I’m relishing these pilgrimages. Even though it’s a 3+ hour commitment. Even though during one ride, a mango-scented diffuser spilled all over the car, and I wanted to gauge my nostrils out.

Even though after stuffing the car full of the toy closet, I started laughing maniacally as I sped down I-91 at 11:30 at night because I felt like a whacked out Santa Claus, the beat-up car filled to the brim with toys, in the middle of October.

“It’s all toys they don’t even know they have!” I told Chuck when I climbed into bed after midnight that night. “Half of the toys are still in the box!”

Then I got an idea. An awful idea. I had a wonderful, awful idea.

“Why don’t we just wrap all the toys up again and give them to the kids for Christmas?” I said.

“Mmmmhmmm,” Chuck mumbled. Even though he was half-asleep, his hand wandered over.

“No more junk this year!” I said. “This is the year we’re the parents we said we wanted to be! This is the year we tell everyone, ‘No more gifts!’”

His hand kept wandering, as if to prove my point. I guess it really is never too late to try.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The things we shout out during sex when we are super stressed and preoccupied



Well, I can't believe it, but Chuck and I actually moved from Mulletville Lite — along with Junior, age 12, Everett, age 8, and Cam, age four. Plus one very old cat and one very grumpy dog.

That's where I've been the last month or so: packing, tripping over boxes, packing more, wondering how in the eff we accumulated so much shit, crying, leaping for joy, and unpacking.

I've also been Googling the snot out of moving topics, like:

Should we really have moved our family? Really?

Will my kids hate me for making them change schools?

When will I know I've made the right decision about ripping my children from everything they know and love?

Can we change our minds and move back?

When will it stop feeling like I'm in someone else's home?

Etc. Etc.

Making the decision to move from my childhood home and leave the neighborhood we had all grown to love was gut wrenching, but I had watched Chuck's health deteriorate the last few years from his long commute. Come Saturday, the man was laid out on the couch from driving 3+ hours a day from Mulletville Lite to New Haven.

When the new asshat governor was voted in and he started pushing for tolls and an increase in the gas tax, well, that was the icing on the cake.

Might as well hand over Chuck's paycheck, and his butt cheeks, to the state of Connecticut.



We'd been looking for a house for two years, but this spring, we really put the search on hyperdrive. We interviewed in other states (me, New Hampshire — too cold — and Chuck, Texas — too far away). We dragged the kids to open houses every Sunday. We chummied up to every realtor in the state, joining every MLS list we could.

During the day, Chuck and I texted each other potential homes with all the fervor and intent of lusty hornballs sharing porn. We scoured realtor.com and trulia.com and zillow.com with shameless abandon. It took MONTHS, and I worried I would shout out "Two car attached garage" during sex instead of "Yes! Yes!"

Thankfully we were so busy looking at houses, we weren't having much sex.

Then, this June, we found it: a house we could afford that was 15 minutes from Chuck's work. More than that, it was a house we could love. We went to see it three times. We brought our parents, then the kids. We put in an offer and bam, it was done.

So that's it. Two months later — exactly one week before school started — we fucking moved. And for the first month, I walked around our new house like, Where the hell are we? I expected someone to come home and ask us what we were doing in their house.

But we are growing into it, little by little.

It's an OLD house, with light switches in weird places and a shitload of cobwebs. For the longest time, if I had to find a switch in the dark, I put on kitchen gloves before I searched along a wall for the switch. I vacuumed up all kinds of leggy creatures. The attic looked like something out of Harry Potter. One night, while I was reading in bed, I watched a spider slowly slink down from the ceiling and land on my page. I contemplated having the kids sleep with earplugs, just in case a spider wandered...


...I can't even say it!

The windows are old, too. Some don't close at the top, which means all kinds of winged things sneak in. I have met every known species of moth. I'm sure, come winter, I'll have Swiss cheese for sweaters because, try as I might, I haven't been able to catch all the bastards. I'm sure, too, we are going to need those holey sweaters when the plastic wrap over the drafty windows stops working. But hey, we have Chuck, and his ass is intact!

So that's where I've been. Settling in. Trying to navigate new roads, enjoying the fact that Chuck is actually home for dinner and bedtime, and unpacking. Dear God, so much unpacking.


I can't lie though. Moving is hard. If you have kids, you have to help them adjust alongside yourself. We've experienced a rainbow of emotions, collectively and in our own spaces. I've thrown back a lot of vodka.

I try not to think about our old house too much. Like how the neighbors would text me if they noticed I left the side door open. I miss them so much my heart hurts. Or how I knew every creak of the stairs, the smell of every approaching season, the scuff marks on every wall, and the way the afternoon light filled the dining room. I watched my neighbors' children grow and vice versa. That house saw new babies come home, nine years of holidays and birthdays, new pets, old pets, snowstorms, hurricanes, flea infestations, Chuck's hemorrhoids...I could go on and on.

That house is part of me. (Like, duh.)

For fun, I went back in time on this blog and reread the post I wrote, nine years ago, about moving into that house. This is it:

Mulletville Lite is rampant with memories. I quiz myself: Would it be better to live somewhere totally new? Or is it preferable to go back to something I know? Does that make me small-minded? Will moving to Mulletville Lite mean my life is a record stuck on the same track of “remembers whens”? What about adventure? Exploration? The unknown?  

It looks like I'm finally going to get some answers to my questions. 

Make laundry fun — and punishable

I don't know why there's so much effing laundry. Yes, there are five of us, but we aren't going anywhere. Part of me feels ...