Two months? Really??

It doesn’t seem like it’s been two months since I’ve posted. Wow. I guess that’s what happens when you’re working your ass off day and night for two full months.

Not long after my last post we found a house. And not just any house. But a NICE house. A BIGGER house. An AWESOME house. And for the icing, a really cool landlord…. MEGA COOL! He’s totally OK with our dogs, my kids, our history, everything. He’s very laid back and made this transition from home owners to renters VERY easy. And for the cherry on top, we could afford it.

But wait! There’s more!

NONE of my kids had to change schools!!!

That alone was a gigantic relief. We’ve been looking for so so long for a house, trying to keep at least most of our kids in the same schools, but it was looking pretty grim. As the deadline started approaching for when we HAD to move out, we started looking for houses in other areas but still close and found nada. So this was a very lucky find!

The downstairs of this house is pretty much the same layout as our old house, except bigger. Our “big” sectional couch (it looked huge in our old family room) looks tiny in this house. 🙂 The upstairs is different… bigger… with an extra bedroom. The house has new appliances, central air (!!!!) and there’s a huge (GIGANTIC – park-sized) covered back patio, and a nice-sized fence yard. Best of all it’s the last house on a dead end street! Sounds too good to be true, huh? Yeah, that’s what we thought. But here we are! And we couldn’t be happier. The kids love it too!

There is one downside. It backs up to a semi-busy street. But there’s plenty of arborvitae to keep it totally private. We’re just having to get used to noisy cars. Jack and the kids say they don’t notice it anymore. I’m almost 100% used to it, but not quite there yet. I still wake up when big trucks go by at night.. Fortunately that’s not often as it’s not a SUPER busy street. After living in totally quiet areas for so many years it’s taking a bit to adjust but it’s all worth it for how awesome the rest of this house is.

So.. after we closed the deal for renting this place, we started packing right away and we moved in March 5th. The week after we moved in was pure madness with baseball practices, two choir concerts, a trip to Ellensburg and back in one night, a trip to the Dalles (I could go on and on). So we lived in box hell that whole week. The second week we got more unpacking done. Then last weekend we built mega-desk for our office. No more mismatched ugly press board desks. We have two big desks now that face each other to basically form one huge (mega) desk and a matching printer station. Ikea for the win! It looks SO much better and we all have more room.

(sorry for the crappy photo, but it’s all I got for now.)

Here you can kinda see our backyard, bust mostly it’s Kevin trying to scare me. 🙂

Kevin attempting to scare me yesterday. It didn't work.

We’re still dealing with the stupid mortgage company on the old house. I so want that over with. I’m so so so done with their games, their lies, their heartlessness. They are pure evil and I swear… right now, after all this, I am soured to every wanting to buy a house again. It’s so so so not worth it. Maybe in a few years I’ll feel differently, but right now I’m content to live in this house forever. I hate moving anyway. 😉

The good, the bad, the ugly

Good: We’re going to be grandparents! Can you believe that?? We can’t either. When we first heard, poor Jack could only stare out the window in shock. Then we got excited. We can’t wait to spoil our first grandbaby!

Bad: Mortgage companies suck. We’ve essentially received a 90 day notice (plus 20??) even though we have a short-sale in review. It’s just all bad in that regard and I don’t even want to go into details.

Ugly: Jack hates my guts. That’s what he said. He said my guts are ugly and he doesn’t like them. When the doctor took my ovary out last month, she took a picture of my uterus and other ovary and showed Jack. Uteruses and ovaries aren’t pretty. In fact, I hate my guts too.

The other good news is the cysts on my ovaries were benign so I can relax about that.

In other ugly news, we haven’t found a place to live yet. It’s not for lack of trying, believe me! It’s very difficult to find a house or place big enough that will at least keep most of our kids in the same schools, that will also accept our dogs.

Just what is up with that anyway? I get some big dogs are destructive. I’ve heard horror stories. But mine aren’t! It doesn’t matter though. Renters seem to think if a dog is over a certain weight, they’ll tear apart the house and you can’t convince them otherwise. The ones that really make me laugh are the ones that say cats only. Like cats can’t do damage? Ha. Cats pee on things when they’re mad at you. Cats shred anything they can sharpen their claws on: walls, wood, carpet, curtains, even the weather stripping on your front door. I know this from experience! And we no longer have inside cats.

Oh well. We’ll keep on looking… and in 90 (+20?) days we’ll be moving somewhere either way. If we have to get an apartment we will. But we’re trying hard to avoid that.

P.S. To any potential renters out there, we have nice, trained, well-behaved, non-destructive Golden Retrievers, and a 15 lb Rat Terrier all of which are fully house trained and do not chew on walls or stair banisters, or carpet, or anything else.. I’m home all day with them and we provide plenty of chew toys and they are good dogs.

P.S.S. Only four of our eight children live at home still, so don’t let the subject of this blog scare you!

P.S.S.S We are good renters, I promise!!

We’re still alive!

Just… busy. Imagine that?

Pretty much most of our spare time is spent talking and or researching about our housing situation, or trying to avoid talking about or researching our housing situation. Here’s where we are with that:

Our current house has been on the market since August. We’ve received an offer on it. The mortgage company is playing games, though, on approving the short sale. They keep telling us documents weren’t submitted, when they were and it took them over a month (and me submitting the same documents over and over and over) before they finally moved on to the next step. We expect to get an update on that sometime next century. If we’re lucky, we’ll hear something by mid January. We’re not holding our breath either way.

We’ve started looking for a new place to live. A family like ours is not your average cookie cutter easy-to-rent to family. We have a lot of kids and three dogs. We no longer have any fish, though, as we gave away our fish tank. (We put a lot of stuff in storage too to de-personalize our house and make it more appealing to potential buyers.)

Neither of us want to rent. We really really don’t want to rent! So we started looking into lease options. We found a house that has lease option available, and the best part is NONE of our kids would have to switch schools. We’re about to put an offer in on that and are crossing our fingers that it will go through. If not, we have lots of time in this house …….. to keep looking for another. Our housing needs sure don’t make it easy!

On the health situation… remember my ovary issues? Well, I never followed through on it. There were a few good reasons, one of which involved me having to switch doctors so the procedure would be covered in full with no deductibles, but mostly I procrastinated. Then we found out our insurance is going to suck next year. And by suck, I mean, the worst EVER in the history of the world. Ok, maybe not THAT bad, but for a hospital? It’s bad. Let me repeat that. For a HOSPITAL, it’s really REALLY bad. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Long story short, if I’m going to take care of this ovary thing, I should do it before our insurance sucks. To make an even longer story shorter, I’m having to go back to my original doctor… and pay deductibles. It’s worth it because I LIKE this doctor and the choices I had to avoid paying deductibles weren’t good. That’s all I’m going to say about THAT.

Just to be sure the cyst was even still there, I had one more ultrasound. Guess what? Not only is it still there, it’s slightly larger and a new small cyst formed next to it. So it made a friend. Isn’t that cute?? Surgery to evict these little ‘friends’ is scheduled for December 20th.

I know. It’s crazy to have surgery five days before Christmas. But we have no choice. This is when it could be done and if I wait till next year I’d have to sell my kidney just to afford getting rid of the ovary. (Hopefully it won’t come to that. Having to lose the ovary, that is. We hope the cysts can just be removed while keeping the ovary intact.)

Sooo… that’s where we are right now. Not much else to report. I have tons of pictures to share but don’t have the time to upload them. Maybe later.

TTFN!

For Kevin

I can’t believe you’re going off to college already! It seems just yesterday you were born. …But we are so proud of you!

Here’s our wish for you..

I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
and each road leads you where you want to go,
and if you’re faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin’ till you find the window,
if it’s cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile,

More than anything, more than anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
and while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.

I hope you never look back, but ya never forget,
all the ones who love you, in the place you left,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
and you help somebody every chance you get,
Oh, you find God’s grace, in every mistake,
and you always give more than you take.

Oh More than anything, Yeah, and more than anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
and while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
and while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.

Anniversary Weekend

Anniversary Weekend

August 21st must be a good day to get married. Jack and I saw three wedding parties at the places we visited this weekend.

Jack and I just celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary and 16th year together this past weekend. We started off by seeing Inception (which we enjoyed) at our favorite movie theater, Cinetopia. Then Friday night we stayed at The Heathman Lodge for free thanks to buying the winning raffle ticket at Sissa’s school fundraiser last year (for only $5.00!). We had a blast! The hotel was beautiful and the beds were actually comfortable! The accompanying $50 gift certificate to Hudson’s Bar and Grill was just another treat as the staff and food were great. We stayed there Friday night then Saturday we spent a good portion of our day at Portland’s Saturday Market.

We haven’t been to Portland’s Saturday Market in years. We forgot how fun and adventurous it can be. From the unique entertainment,

Anniversary Weekend 2010

video: Some guys playing buckets at Portland Saturday Market

to the strange people you come across,

PotHead at Saturday Market in Portland

to the amazing items you can purchase!

Toothbrush Holder and Matching Cup

Toothbrush Holder and Matching Cup

It’s not very often I get excited about a mundane purchase, but I have to rave about these toothbrush holders Jack and I found at the Saturday Market this weekend. I’ve seen many handmade pottery toothbrush holders but it’s always the same: holes are too small, holes too close together (my kids can’t stand it when the brushes touch), they are hard to clean, etc. These totally caught my eye. They are unique, pretty, and functional in more ways than one: nice wide holes, matching cup, the brushes don’t touch, easy to clean, and there’s even a holder on the back for the toothpaste. It’s perfect!

I found these at FarPoint Stoneware and Porcelain at the Saturday Market. And we’ll be going back to buy another set for mine and Jack’s bathroom considering I found MOLD that I can’t get out at the bottom of our traditional cheap holder. EWWW.

After soaking in all we could at the market, we had a couple hours to kill so I decided to show Jack where I used to have lunch every chance I could when I worked in downtown Portland many moons ago: The Ira Keller Fountain.

Anniversary Weekend 2010

This is a short walk from from the “Black Box” where I worked, and I loved eating lunch there any day it wasn’t raining. Jack was really taken by the uniqueness of this fountain and explored it for a long time. 🙂

Saturday night we took a dinner cruise on the Portland Spirit. This is the third time we’ve spent an anniversary on the Portland Spirit and they’ve never disappointed us.

Anniversary Weekend 2010

Sunday we slept in, had breakfast, then decided to go for a drive and quite by accident ended up on the The North Clark County Scenic Drive. This took us through Battle Ground, Yacolt, by Lucia Falls and Moulton Falls. We stopped at Moulton falls to explore a bit.

Anniversary Weekend 2010

Anniversary Weekend - Moulton Falls

It was an amazing, perfect, romantic weekend and I’m so very happy to have spent it with my soul mate.

P.S. There’s a few more photos here.

Starting over

It’s a scary time for us right now. But it’s also an adventurous time. At least that’s what we’re telling ourselves and our kids. 🙂

We’re selling our house… or rather, we’re short-selling it. At least that’s what we’re hoping for.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ve likely read how nervous I’ve been about the housing market crashing so soon after we purchased this house. It was clear in 2008, just one year after purchasing it, we were upside down (aka underwater). Heck, I started panicking August 2007, only six months after purchasing this house! By then I’d unexpectedly lost my job so it was natural to panic, but I had no idea how bad things would get.

Needless to say, we’ve never been able to enjoy this house. We’ve never been able to get comfortable. Watching the value of your home plummet so soon after purchasing it just plain sucks. There’s no other way to describe it. But to make matters worse, we got screwed on our loan. We knew going in that it was bad but we were promised we could refinance in three years. Who knew the market would crash so badly and make that impossible?

There’s a whole list of reasons for our decision to sell the house that I can’t really go into on a public blog, but the bottom line is we face having to start all over. That certainly wasn’t in our plan. But then a lot of things didn’t go “as planned” after purchasing this house.

  • I didn’t plan to lose my job.
  • I didn’t plan to only find part-time work at first.
  • I didn’t plan that when I did find a full-time job, it would be making much less than I did previously.
  • We weren’t expecting our family to grow … and yet it did.
  • We weren’t planning on having car payments. But it’s kinda necessary when your family unexpectedly grows.

The list goes on and on.

So here we are, looking to sell, to move, become renters, and hopefully someday soon become homeowners again.

We were really concerned about the effect this would have on the kids. But it will be a life-lesson for them: sometimes like knocks ya down and you just  have to pick yourself back up and move on. Cliché as that is, it’s true. We hope to make this as positive as can be for all of us. Get excited about living in a new place, even if it’s not OUR place, learn to make new friends at new schools if it comes to that. There’s lots to look forward to.

It still hurts, though. And I keep finding myself teary about all this saying over and over, “this wasn’t how this was supposed to go!”. But then I remind myself that we have an amazing family full of love and that’s all that really matters in the long run. No matter where we live.

Life

We’ve moved! Please update your bookmarks to: https://jackntracie.wordpress.com

Why did we move? Well, our current host wouldn’t budge on their pricing even though they were quite a bit more expensive than their competitors. And I didn’t feel like moving hosts. Going from a self-hosted wordpress blog to wordpress.com took me about 3 seconds. And it’s FREE to host here. Can’t beat that! (That and the site wasn’t paying for itself anymore, thus us not being able to justify spending $120 a year to host it..) 🙂

Rest in Peace Grandma…

From Jack:
The Greatest Woman that ever lived, my Grandma T, died yesterday at the age of 86… if she died at 186 it would have been too soon….

Rest in Peace Grandma T. You were the sweetest and most wonderful Great Grandma, Grandma, Mom and Lady that ever lived. You were the cornerstone of our great family, and while we will all carry on, the world will never be the same without you. We love you with all our hearts.

From Tracie:
Being part of something special, makes you special.” That’s exactly how I feel about Grandma T. She was so special, so amazing, and I’m very thankful I got the chance to know such an incredible person. She was the closest to a real Grandma I ever had… She accepted me faults and all. I will miss her so, so much.

Grandma T.

Grandma T. and Kevin

Grandma T

Grandma and Sissa

thanksgiving, 2009

Our last Thanksgiving with Grandma T - November, 2009

(There’s more photos on Facebook)