Homes for Gnomes

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Although the weekend was slated to focus on all things Father’s Day, I had committed to fairy gardening time with my older daughter on Friday evening.  Because she’s a tweenager, she changed her mind at the last minute and let me know that she didn’t really want to do that (even though it had been her idea).  She played with friends instead, but that allowed me the chance to assemble the latest piece to surprise her.  (Was this my first day of parenting?  You would think so.)

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We started with this. It’s about 6′ tall and is fairly light. We had to secure the shelves with extra screws and drill holes into the trays for drainage.

She returned home to find the garden near completion.  I couldn’t wait to show her because of course she would be thrilled!  I could sense her absolute joy by the way tears immediately welled up in her eyes, her lower lip turned down and quivered, and she said quietly “You did it without me.  Why didn’t you wait for me, Mommy?”

You’re kidding me, right??  Big ugh.

I thought she was going to love it and instead I 100% hurt her feelings.  (Because my doofus self believed her when she said that she didn’t want to do it – rookie mom move!)

Having taken sufficient time off for the day, my experienced parent brain switched back on as it sensed my impending crash and burn.  I responded ever so casually, “I didn’t finish it.” (False)  “There’s a whole box of stuff here for you to add.” (True but I had completely forgotten about the box until that moment. This was divine intervention because even God couldn’t watch me flop that badly.)  “I just set up the basics, so you could focus on the important parts.”  She viewed me with skepticism but switched into fairy decor overdrive as soon as she found the box.  Thank you sweet cheeze-its for all of that fairy goodness.

She and I both love gardening, but we have vastly different styles of how to approach it.  I am of the school of thought that believes that less is more.  She is of the school of thought that believes that my school of thought can suck it because only more is more and everything should have more if more is an option.  So she ransacked her box of more (more everything), and the end result was a rather dynamic display.

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To me, it’s like “Hoarders” meets “Lord of the Rings” meets “Game of Thrones” (minus any nip action).  She thinks it’s the cats pajamas, and that reason is enough for me to adore it as well.

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You can see her stories in each little section.  She’s so creative and clever, and ultimately, she’s happy.  In her mind, we assembled all of it together.

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I want her to recall these moments with me with genuine fondness.  My hope is that she will remember the way we created these little gardens together.  My wish is for her to keep dreaming and embracing joy in the smallest of things.  Hopefully our little fairy gardens will instill a bit of magic in her heart and soul that she will keep with her always.

“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.” – Willy Wonka

I send wishes for magic, miracles and joy for you all.

***MoJo***

I’m the Adult but Let’s Be Clear – She Started It

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Irresistible

My version of a mom win can be a smidge twisted at times, but I have put forth substantial effort to earn the majority of my questionable parenting choices credits.  A few noteworthy exceptions include calling their attention to the radio when the song “Baby Got Back” came on, showing the kids how to ask the Amazon Echo to tell bad jokes, leaving my kids unattended near open paint pens, accidentally giggling when one kid de-pantsed another kid thus unintentionally creating a day packed with alternating incidences of angry pantless children, and encouraging my daughter to touch a duckling when the mother duck was in range.  I have two additional thoughts on that last point.  1.  I wasn’t using my brain.  2.  That mama bird was much faster than one might have anticipated, but perhaps the universal concept of never ever touching wild ducklings should have been enough.  And now I know why.

Nevertheless I am currently ecstatic at the sheer genius (self-designated) of the latest mealtime game that I invented yesterday.  Everyone adores it!  Correction – almost everyone adores it.

The game consists of all members in attendance at the meal doing the wave in a clockwise loop around the table each time our toddler raises her hands up.  So her hands go up and then I toss both of my arms in the air as I holler “Wooooo!!!” and immediately it continues on with my next person and the next, etc.  We love it, but incredibly, she is not a fan.  She is the wave buster and adamantly refuses to keep the pattern going.  (Why is there always one holdout section when everyone else wants to do the wave?!?!)  There is no rage or crying on her part.  Her reaction is one of crossed arms combined with an annoyed squinty irritated look that holds the same weight as an adult’s eye roll coupled with the international greeting.

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No, it’s not that kind of wave, but I didn’t have enough sequential pictures to give an accurate visual representation of the game.  I opted for an entirely inaccurate visual instead.

How could this possibly be a win?  I’ll send her to your house for a bit, and you can watch her rain crumbs in a ten mile circle with every upward launch of those sticky hands.  The win will become crystal clear.  Plus it’s stone cold funny.

Having a toddler is wonderful, beautiful, and, more often than you might imagine, excruciatingly painful.  I fully believe that whomever first used the phrase “loves hurts” had a little child and that those words were spoken in direct reference to something that the kid did.  As I type this, I am sporting a genuine black eye from where my own kid-shaped tornado clocked me in the head a few days ago at mommy and me gymnastics. It was fantastic when she slammed into my face while fifty sets of eyes were pointing my direction.  Because I have a “never let em see you sweat” response to public embarrassment, I responded with a veiled attempt to play it cool.  This is how we roll folks.  The gymnastics Olympians do this to their coaches, too.  No broken eye socket – hahaha.  Look away all of you wenches!!  Look away!!!

Another annoying move she has add to her endless bag o’ tricks is her recent practice of goosing us randomly in our hineys.  Even our dogs don’t do this to us.  No one knows exactly why she started this move, but everyone knows that WE WANT IT TO STOP NOW.  Unfortunately she finds our total surprise and unnerved reactions to be quite comical.  We have yet to break the pattern and may have to create a new variation of the wave technique in response to this as well.

As a parent, you have to be willing to get creative when it comes to changing certain kid behaviors.  If you are thinking that our game has less to do with creativity and more to do with passive aggressive behavior on our part, then you are wise.  I would also wager that you have no crazy small children or you have those weird well-behaved ones.  And if that’s the case, I’m jealous, good job, and fat congrats to you.  Just don’t bother trying to find that here.

I do feel compelled to add that my little game may already be backfiring on me.  Shock.  Awe.  Amazement.  Yawn.  She knew right out of the gate that we were messing with her and initially was rather displeased.  However as of this morning, she appeared to be trying to initiate a round of it.  I may have actually taught her that waving her hands in the air like she doesn’t care is the way to go to engage the group.  So I’m basically looking at five times the crumb cleanup and a small kid who will be leading the charge.  And there goes my win.  Again.

Just know that one day not too far down the road, I will be able to buy a full page ad for her school yearbooks.  Those ads will have space for sentiments of love and joy.  And photos.  Aaaaaany photos I choose.  I’m looking at you photo of dancing toddler in boots and a diaper.

I will get my win.  Someday.  Somehow.  And soon.

***MoJo***

Fuzzy Around the Edges – Pixel Pix

I’m typically speaking about myself when I use the phrase fuzzy around the edges but not this time. While I have a wonderful eye for quality photo opps, my actual talent at executing said shots could be put on level with that of the Blair Witch Project.  Probably less.

Although I am photographically challenged, I’ve playing around with the camera on my new(ish) Google Pixel XL phone to see if it can overcome my human limitations.  I have been rather wowed with the results and wanted to share for any other shakey-handed Sallies out there who might be in the market for a phone in the near future.

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I am intrigued with the mixed levels of focus in this shot.  The only areas in focus are the ones that were actually moving.  This spinner was turning wildly when I took the picture.

 

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The front was rolling in very quickly, and it was almost totally dark.

I took this picture while looking up at the branch that was 20+ feet above me.  I was standing in its shadow, and the sun was shining from behind it (because getting the sun to shine from beneath the branch seemed to be definitive no as the sun doesn’t work like that).  The camera still picked up the detail of the bark.

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It’s a lovely shot (if I may say so myself), but the truly impressive detail is that it was taken from a car window while bumping down a little highway at 70 miles per hour.

This week’s photo challenge is to show your favorite in-focus and out-of-focus moments. Click below for instructions on how to share your awesomeness with your fellow WordPeeps.
Focus

***MoJo***

Hold Me Closer Tony Danza

pizzaSo close but not quite right. This is how I feel I am doing on multiple levels of my life. I’ve almost got it, but then I muck it up the further I go. See those jazzy frozen pizzas cooking above? Forget about breakfast, I missed brunch, lunch came and went, and now I’m thinking that this may be linner. It’s the only “cooking” I’ve done in days. I’m not gonna lie. I love me some bad news bears frozen pizza. I just wish it was going to be coupled with anything worthwhile for my family to eat in the next couple of hours.  The older members of the family learned to forage a while back, but it’s not how I would like them to find nourishment.  I am a good cook.  I’ve just been too crazy tired and over-scheduled to do it lately.  And by lately, I mean every day in way too long.

I’m not the suckiest parent and wife out there. At least not today. Yes I am still making my kids camp downstairs, but I did invest in some very nice foldable mattresses that they tell me they love. (This may just be a joint line they are feeding me in an attempt to get on my good side. Little do they know, but they are already on my good side.)

mattressI saw these mattresses online and thought how great it would be to get something I could fold away for storage. Being a mathematician, you would think that I would have crunched the numbers and figured out that they would fold into a cube with dimensions so large that coffee tables would be envious. As I now own multiple mattress cubes, I may have to ditch our sofa and switch to these on a permanent basis instead. We would literally have a fold-away bed sofa, and it would be the only comfortable one in all of history.

Today has consisted of dropping of my smallest at childcare, being frustrated at the mayhem in that room that wasn’t apparent a couple weeks ago, visiting another potential childcare place, being frustrated that there was a teeny playground there, visiting another another potential childcare place, liking their playground, and being totally uncertain about what is best for my daughter. That was today until 9am.

The rest has consisted of business calls, spreadsheet updates, more spreadsheet updates, more calls, and I’m still so in the weeds with all that. As working moms don’t get smoke breaks (at least not in this house), I scattered a few minutes here and there to tackle laundry, dishes, cleaning, more laundry, more dishes, more cleaning… However I have to pause all that now though because I need to stop by the pediatrician’s office before they close, pick up my smallest from mayhem care, and then take my girls to gymnastics while the boys chill at home. I get/have to participate in one of those classes which consists of picking up my two-year old over and over again for an hour. The scale lies. It says that she weighs 35 pounds, but my arms and back know with full certainty that the truth is that she weighs 85 pounds. I also need to go to the hardware store, the UPS store, the pharmacy, and the grocery store. The last of those probably won’t happen, as I committed to work on the fairy garden with the kids. Despite my insistence on mainlining caffeine it throughout the day, even it calls it quits after a while.

astros lightsI don’t have anything ready to go for Father’s Day, but in all fairness to me, I am a total goof and thought it was last weekend. Now that I write those words, I see that this admission isn’t really a positive note either. I didn’t have cards then, but my husband hates cards. What a weirdo. I hate the sappy stuff, but I love me some good funny. However I was able to spring a Father’s Day surprise and load everyone in the car without knowing that we were actually going to a baseball game. Admittedly the level of surprise probably had a lot to do with the fact that it wasn’t Father’s Day. Who knew??? (Everyone else knew.) Surprise to me, too!

I just can’t seem to execute everything on the list. Ever. Every time I mark something off the list, five more items take its place. I am trying. I’m not succeeding like I would like to, but if caffeine can’t keep up, neither can I. So we will have our linner pizzas. I will break my back yet again. We will fairy garden a bit. I will have to work over the weekend some. Laundry and dishes and dust and life will keep happening. And my husband won’t care about the cards.

Hold me closer tiny dancer…
Count the headlights on the highway…
Lay me down in sheets of linen…
You had a busy day today…
“Tiny Dancer” sung by Elton John

I read these lines, and all I could think was “Ugh – linen sheets? Not soft enough and what a pain to iron!” But with or without Tony Danza, it’s still a lovely song.

***MoJo***

The Paragon of Purchasers – Get Out of My House Goldilocks

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“Doesn’t want white kitchen cabinets” – So sorry about the misleading photo.  I should have explained that these are NOT those fancy color-changing cabinets that look white in pictures but are actually dark brown in person.

Having your house on the market is a monster headache.  People keep their shoes on, but they leave their reasonable standards of decorum and general sanity at the door.

Shoes on?  No sweat.  You may enter.

Basic consideration and sanity off?  No way.  You may bite me.

***Quick note of clarification – In our area, the seller’s realtor is NOT typically present at the showings.  This means that potential buyers will view a house accompanied by their own realtor only.  Consequently we have to rely on those other realtors to monitor their clients who are unable to behave like adults.  Sadly that doesn’t happen as often as we would like.

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“Wants to be on a cul-de-sac” – We mistakenly believed that the map on the listing showing that there was zero possibility of our home actually being on a cul-de-sac would have clarified that in advance.

I would like to highlight and respond to certain feedback left by a handful of memorable prospective buyers AFTER they viewed our house.  These paragons of home buying madness serve as the model reason for never wanting to go through this crapola again.

If you are a home buyer with eyeballs (and based on security footage, they have all had them so far), I know that you viewed the detailed photos available online before you scheduled the showing.  Every realtor and buyer within a zillion miles does this.  Many of these same shoppers also had lengthy conversations with our realtor about our home prior to their appointments.  They could have asked her about their specific requirements if they were in fact subject to ocular limitations.

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“No upstairs patio.” – Let me start by thanking you for the few minutes of notice you gave us before demanding that we leave our home with our 2 giant dogs and 3 young kids because you HAD to see it right then or never.  Although the online photos (the ones you mentioned you had reviewed extensively before the showing) clearly displayed that the back of our home did not have an upstairs patio (the requirement you mentioned after the showing), it was good to know that you felt compelled to verify that it was true from the inside of the home.  From 8-9pm.  On a school night.

Certain things seem rather obvious, but I have personally confirmed that being obvious means nothing in the world of realty.  People leave useless feedback and ask our realtor questions that are so crazy that I wonder if they realized that they were using their out loud voices when they said them.

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“There was no pool.” – Only one sly buyer was clever enough to recognize that the grass in our backyard was not an actual aquatic feature.  This savvy shopper refused to be tricked into thinking that the large community pond located outside of our enclosed iron fence and backing up to two dozen other homes was actually a gigantic private pool we had built for our own use.  This ruse was brazen on my part, but my cunning nature could not be suppressed.  Most people who want to buy a home with a pool will be unable to comprehend the “No Pool” statement on the listing nor will they understand that the absence of a pool in all photos means that we don’t have one.

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“Would they be willing to build us a pool?” – I’m not making this up folks.  One bold prospect contacted our realtor to ask her if we would be willing to build them a pool.  Naturally we said yes.  We had just been waiting for someone outside of our family and income stream to ask.  Please refer the photo (above) of the lake we told our realtor she could ask them to jump in.

And then there are comments like this…

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“Whole house is green.” – Green like this pink room?

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Or green like this blue room?

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Maybe green like this aqua room?

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Or probably green like this rusty-red room?

Despite my photographic evidence to the contrary, I would have been unaffected by the color comment if that was where it had ended with those people.  The whole house isn’t green, but I will concede that a large portion of the house has grey green walls.  Most people love it and we receive tons of compliments on it, but paint preference is subject to personal taste.  The magic of these buyers was not in their feedback.  It was the way they pushed their appointment back a full hour after we were 45 minutes into their original time slot.  That meant an additional full hour of sitting in my car in a parking lot, being unable to work, being unable to go to the bathroom, and being unable to take my hungry kids home or anywhere else because we had the dogs with us since they can’t stay home either.  I could have dealt with the rescheduling request, but they upped the ante and showed up at the second half of their appointment window and stayed to the very end even though they didn’t like the house.

Well apparently they wanted to be thorough to make absolutely sure that they didn’t like it because there were multiple drawers left slightly open.  My OCD would never permit me to leave any drawer open at all ever, but this would be especially true if a possible buyer was coming.  It would look unkempt in my OCD eyes.  I arrange my Keurig cups, remember??  And on that note, they actually moved some of those cups around.  I couldn’t believe it, but I laughed when I found it, because hey – at least they noticed the effort!  I could also tell that they had tested the sofas both downstairs and upstairs because the pillows and blankets were smooshed and out of place.  That wasn’t a big deal to me because I understand that people need to sit down.  It’s when you opt to pull a Goldilocks move and SIT ON MY BED that I have to push the eject button.  At what point will this mama bear be okay with total strangers parking their happy butts on my bed?  If you responded “never ever ever ever ever,” you were correct!  At least their comments didn’t say, “Sheets not soft enough.”  But that’s silly.  Of course my sheets are soft enough.  Shout out to microfiber!

We have seen all sorts of wacky and tacky behavior over the past few months of living in a house on the market.  There was the guy who tracked muddy footprints throughout the home, messed up all of my window treatments, and broke some blinds.  He didn’t like the layout of the house, but I guess he needed to shred the house to confirm it.  And then there was the local realtor (who also happened to be a neighbor) who scheduled an appointment so she and her husband could take a private tour.  Not too long after that, she became the official realtor for another seller a few doors down.  The sad part is that if she had just asked me if she could look at my house, I would have said yes.  Instead she booked an appointment as if she was working on behalf of a potential buyer.  We were forced to turn our Sunday upside down in order to prepare our home.  While we were doing this, she was busy displaying her faithful devotion in Sunday school.  Maybe it helps to cleanse prior to casing one’s competition (us).  I guess they weren’t studying “Thou shalt not behave like a behind.” that day.

Here are a few other comments we have heard that are clear as day on the listing:

  • too expensive (maybe don’t come here if you don’t like the price?)
  • too big
  • too small
  • too many bedrooms upstairs
  • not enough bedrooms upstairs

It’s exhausting.

This post is not directed at every prospective buyer who has entered our home.  Most buyers and realtors have behaved like normal decent people in a stranger’s home.  Some have put our home on their “maybe” list, and others were looking for something that we couldn’t offer.  Maybe they disliked the layout or it just wasn’t they were looking for.  I don’t mind that, and I really do get it if this isn’t your jam.  House hunting is personal, and my prayer is that this house will be purchased by someone who feels like they are stepping into their new home, not taking a tour of someone else’s house.

a fairy highrise

“Fairy highrise is incomplete, and there are insufficient ladders.” – This is the one annoying comment I haven’t received, but the day is still young.  I’ll finish it soon, but then I’ll probably get a comment about the need for a fairy elevator instead.

We aren’t on the local historical register, we don’t make money selling entry tickets, and we aren’t offering a design tour.  This is where we live, and every showing disrupts our family immensely.  Our children are tired of being pushed out of their space by careless people whom they have never met.  We don’t allow strangers to test-drive our furniture and track mud throughout our freshly cleaned home because it’s fun for us.  We want and need to sell this house.  This is about courtesy and common sense.

It’s also about removing one’s head from sphincter prior to scheduling an appointment to enter another person’s home.  If you are a perspective home buyer, please do that and do it in that order – not the other way around.

Thanks in advance!

***MoJo***

Paragon
A Paragon of Love
https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/9418777/posts/56319
https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/100921263/posts/32880

 

Unwanted T-Shirt Advice

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Am I the only person who feels this way?  I’m sure that someone out there is wearing a t-shirt, carrying a cup, and sporting an automobile sticker that will tell me all about it if so.

And ladies, if you are past the point of comfortably wearing mini-skirts, maybe consider returning fabric to those little cutouts on the shoulders.  This isn’t about ageism.  I don’t wear mini-skirts now either.  This is about reality.  Shoulder cutouts are basically 80’s shoulder pads’ dark nemesis, and you and your kids will laugh at those photos soon.  It’s inevitable.  We went from too much shoulder material to no shoulder material at all.  There must be a better way.  (There is!  Just keep the fabric going all the way through the sleeve.)

Also isn’t dabbing over yet?  I thought it was so last year, but our kids are still bugging us with this.  There is a strong possibility that they continue to do it strictly because they sense how much it annoys us.  I also suspect that they are nerds.  Alas they are genetically predisposed to the latter.

Nevertheless if you are into any of the items detailed above, please don’t be sad.  I’m not intending to be unkind.  I believe that I have made it abundantly clear that I am a major proponent of laughing at myself, but I will point that laughter in your direction if you say, wear, or do any of these things in my proximity.  Just a friendly heads up.

With all that said, I’ll love you just as much and possibly even more if you do happen to fall into one or more of these categories.  I live for giggles, and I absolutely adore people who don’t care what someone else thinks and do whatever they want to do.  So own it baby!  That’s all that really matters anyway.   😉

***MoJo***

 

Seriously?

1497269925242Because clearly that’s all the next person would need.  Not okay.

And that’s the reason for the lesson on volume my kid just received.

***MoJo***


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