It started when the cinnamon toast caught fire in the oven and had to be put out with a saucepan of cold water and ended when Tyler told me over dinner that two older kids passed him on the way to lunch and called him a "twerp"
So we live on a street that’s also known as “Christmas Tree Lane” and while we’re not going to do anything with neon (at least this year) we have gotten our 60 amp cartridge fuses upgraded and made a modest investment in lights in an attempt to strike the right balance between over-the-top kitch and single-wreath-on-the-door austerity.
We know what we were getting into when we moved here (we were warned by our realtor and I think there was something on the disclosure statement) so we actually negotiated with the sellers to leave their lights. The red-faced Santa that you see on the roof is one of the leave-behinds and talking with the previous owner who was back for a visit, it’s known on the block as the “devil Santa” because of his red face. He was rescued out of a dumpster outside Tahoe and has been dragged out each Christmas since then. It’s hard to see in the photo but Dav and I secured it to the roof with a few well-placed nails through his feet (no Christ on the cross symbolism intended) and a leftover rake which, nailed into the peak of the roof, acts as a decent brace. Viewed from the street, ol’ St. Nick looks like he’s about to take a tumble but is still trying to stay jovial about the whole thing.
After plying Doug and Dave Yarrington with Dim Sum, they came by to help with the lights on the tree which, looking at it in the photo, looks like an alien hand. We also inherited that white plastic Christmas tree but I think that’s going to get pitched.
We’re pending on the final touch with is a large sheet of plywood upon which we were inspired (after watching Fahrenheit 9/11 last night) to write something to remind everyone that it’s not all that peaceful out there and that many families are going through the holidays without a loved one because of the war in Iraq. We floated the idea of painting:
“Santa can’t fly to war zones. Pray for Peace.”
but didn’t get much of a rise from anyone. The opportunity seems ripe to get a message across because we’ve heard that as many as 3000 cars drive by each night to take a look at the displays on our lane.
Anyone have any better ideas?
I finally got the digital camera hooked up to the Mac and pulled out the photos that were sitting in storage. Here’s a photo of the giant robot that I constructed with my neighbors out of some of the empty moving boxes.
This photo is from a couple of weeks ago when we were still in the rental but it shows how we all feel these days – exhausted! It’s been a heroic few weeks as we unpacked boxes and slapped things into shape. Izumi did most of the work while the rest of us got distracted by long lost photos and toys that had been packed away for the past two months.
We’ve ripped up the ratty, cat-smelling carpet in the “plus” room downstairs, smoothed and leveled out the concrete slab and put down a new wood floor. It totally brightens up the room and makes it a much nicer space for the kids to play in.
We took Tyler over for his first day at his new school. We thought we were looking all smart in our newly unpacked clothes for our meeting with his new teacher but didn’t notice it until we got out of the car – all four of us reeked of mothballs. Ms. Fong-Wedgewood politely didn’t mention it but she must have wondered if we were boxed up along with all our stuff as well.
Tyler’s school is in the same district so the curriculum matched perfectly and he was able to pick up without losing a beat. He loves his new teacher and already has made a few friends. It’s great to see that he can fit in so easily, if there’s one thing at which he is a natural, it’s making new friends.
It’s been a whirlwind few days with the movers, unpacking, transferring license plates to California, getting a CA driver’s license, switching Tyler over to the local school, hooking up cable & internet, and meeting the new neighbors in between. We’re still digging ourselves out from boxes and bubble wrap so I haven’t had a chance to post.
We did find someone that can take all the packing material off our hands because she is moving to Texas. When we told her that we had “wardrobe boxes” (tall boxes with a hanger rod in them so you can hang your suits and dresses) she squealed with delight. One man’s trash. . .
One great thing about having a blogger sister is that she’s good at documenting things that, at the moment seem too overwhelming to even think about documenting. She was there on our first day of unpacking and squeezed off a few choice shots of the occasion.
We signed our loan papers for the new house today. The stack of forms we needed to sign was at least and inch thick! All sorts of forms including one we had to sign that was proof that our signature was our signature. (Lack of a signature means. . . I guess. . . it’s not your signature?) Two hours later and we were that much closer to moving in!
Almost two months to the day of searching and we finally got the house of our dreams. We are now going to be residents of the Island of Alameda!
We must have reviewed at least 50 houses and were in bidding wars on three of them. I was beginning to get blase about the whole process, with all the offers & counter-offers, and it was getting to be kind of enjoyable. Such a game! Our realtor came to meet us while we were eating dinner with Mie & Dav so we could sign our latest counter-offer. Dav mentioned that the last time he went to dinner with someone who was sitting on an offer, they won. He must have some kind of real estate karma thing that rubbed off on us – thanks Dav!
I’m glad it’s over. We were cooling our jets in Berkeley on the latest round of bidding when our realtor called and said, “So, are you ready to move in?” We immediately whooped it up and sang “we got a house. . . .we’ve. . . got. . . a. . .house” all the way back to the apartment.
On Wednesday, the real estate agent’s “For Sale” sign went up on our home. I knew this would be traumatic for us all but I had no idea how much. Of course we had prepped the neighbors but seeing the sign out there, with it’s brash “Buy Me” red letters really drove a stake through the neighborhood. Izumi called me at the office to tell me the sign was going in and she sounded so sad, “It’s happening. . .all the neighbors have come out to look.”
Tyler took it the hardest. We have been talking to him about this move, why it was necessary and why he would have a great time in San Francisco (“They have sea lions there! Right in the harbor!”). Yet this home is all he really knows. The friends he’s made on this blocks are his only friends. San Francisco is too far away for them to come play. “Do they speak English there?” he asked.
When the sign went in, he ran outside and tried to tear the sign out of the ground so no one would buy this house and take it away from us. I know he’ll be fine. Heck, I barely remember where I was living when I was five. But hearing this ripped a hole in my heart.
Yesterday, the Cirullo’s held their annual Pig Roast. They grew up in the area and the Pig Roast is an excuse to bring all their far-flung friends back together for a day long gathering interspersed with games of Quoits, a raffle drawing featuring “expensed” corporate giveaways [Merrill Lynch T-Shirt, Mettler Toledo swiss army knives] and many mugs of beer. More kids this year than last so the late-night crowd was only a few. I turned in early but we could hear the clanking of the Quoits on their pins late into the night . . . the sounds of Summer.