Tuesday, September 29, 2015

It's HOT

You see the effect that your example has on these girls, Micah?

Yay! Daddy's home from work! Now we can go to the swimming pool! (Yes, the pool is still open and it is still hot enough to swim.)

Angela does a lot of this lately. She won't eat anything but cheese. And she's very angry when I try to offer her other things. Even things she has loved in the past. Every meal/snack/moment is pretty traumatic for both her and me because of this.

Girls are obsessed with this chair- they constantly remove the seat cushion to jump on the springy bottom or lounge in the extra-deep seat.

Left peeled, hard-boiled eggs on the counter. Returned to find small nibbles taken out of each of them.

"I look stupid in that picture. You should not post it." Says Micah
This was Micah on Saturday morning after surviving his first week at his first real job. 

Check out our sweet digs. Actually kind of liking the open-concept thing. I can wash dishes while keeping an eye on the kids. But it's also hard because I'm hyper conscious of every single little mess and clean all day long every day. This is where Harris is paying for us to stay until October 19.

Yay! A park down the street. A really big, fun one. We were the ONLY people there. I guess it's still too hot for any of the locals to come play. Or, for some reason, this park is dangerous or otherwise tainted and the locals don't use it....

These poor girls were drenched in sweat by the time we went home.

Look at my cute ponytails!

We put in an offer on a house. If we can't get the sellers to come down to our price, we've got a choice #2 already lined up. We're trying to get under contract asap so that we can have a 30-day-closing The truth in Lending Act that goes into effect and we have to do a 45-day-closing, which will mean 2 additional weeks in a hotel or something. Closing on our condo went through last Friday, so now every time I look at my bank account, I feel the urge to run to a branch and withdraw several thousand $1 bills so I can roll in them. We made a 97% profit in 4 years. Buying that place=best financial decision we will probably ever make.

It has come to light that I need to have my vision checked. I can't read road signs very well until I'm pretty close, which has been tricky as I'm learning my way around. I thought that I was pretty normal, until driving around with Micah, who can read signs from 2-3x farther away. Good thing we're getting a vision plan through Harris! Vision problems might also help explain the headaches that I get on a nearly-daily basis. Unfortunately, vision impairment would make my dreams of becoming an astronaut unattainable. Shoot.

Natalie is handling the transition pretty well. She is drawing on some familiarities for stability- a lot of things that are the same here as where we used to live, such as the cookies at publix and having a playground in the mall. Angela is figuring out how to sleep in her packnplay and it hasn't been as big a hurdle as I was expecting. Micah is liking work so far and is coming up with more and more reasons why Harris will be a good employer for him.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


So much to recount!

Micah experienced major stress at school as Micah tried to disentangle himself from his adviser's grasp and get his thesis in. With days before the move, his adviser kept trying to get him to make changes and Micah was crazy mad because he was wasting so much time justifying why such changes were not necessary. But, Micah survived without blowing up at Dr. Gaylord, so that relationship is still intact. Phwew!

Amid that chaos, we got all organized and packed and then the movers came and took away all of our stuff. Our movers were cool and did a great job. The place looked great once it was all cleaned and empty.

We stayed in a hotel in Atlanta on Friday night, then drove on to Orlando all Saturday. There was miserable construction and the drive took about 9 hours. We stayed at a hotel near seaworld/disneyworld because it was on our route and I was overwhelmed; lots of people and traffic and places to waste money. Sunday morning we drove into town and it was a very interesting drive- once you're outside of Orlando, nothing but cattle ranches forever and then suddenly- BAM, you hit Melbourne. We went to church that afternoon in the palm bay 1st ward (there are 3 wards within a couple of miles of work). This would be our ward if we buy this home that we like:

Micah knows a ton of people in that congregation, from BYU or Georgia Tech or from interviewing at Harris. The guy at work who he immediately reports to is the bishop. There are a ton of Mormons working for Harris, specifically in the optics department. They hire a lot of BYU grads because BYU has a research program that is related.

Tuesday, our realtor took us out to search for more places. We found a couple of homes with potential, like this one:
They are affordable and in good in good school districts (which our the downers of the knecht rd house) but in the 2nd palm bay ward. We don't know much about it, so Micah doesn't want to make any offers until we've checked it out ourselves. He said he didn't know anyone in that ward, but then upon further reflection, he remembered that the guy who works in the office two doors down from him is actually the bishop of the other ward, so he's got a resource there.

I am getting more irritated by the day because it will take so long to get into a home once we're under contract and we only have an apartment provided by Harris until October 20. It's already too late to close by then, so I need to figure out where we'll stay during that gap.

The girls have been doing great. They were very good while I dragged them around to see homes with the realtor. They like our temporary apartment, but Angela doesn't like sleeping in the packnplay and has been very tired and cranky. Natalie already has a best friend for whom she has proclaimed her love, a three-year-old boy in a family from church who invited us over for dinner on Sunday. She is going to be in a preschool group starting next week with 8 other three-year-olds from the palm bay 1st ward. So, she's handling the adjustment pretty well. Both girls love the lizards that are everywhere here. Natalie loves the palm trees and is very attached to the idea that even though the publix stores are a little bit different here, they still have the same cookies that you can get free for kids at the bakery.

It's really bright and hot here. My head pretty much hasn't stopped hurting, from either the light or the lack of sleep or both or something else entirely. More exciting and much more concrete updates to come, I am sure! Our closing for our condo is scheduled for this Friday! Woohoo!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Angela Pictures & Venting

First, some photos, since I've been bad at capturing the cuteness and stature of our youngest blossoming toddler here.

Angela trying to spoon feed the dog

Offering kibble by hand 

Toddler hug

When Marty and Charlotte arrived to watch the kids this week, Angela went right up to Marty, reached to be put on his lap, then leaned in for a snuggle. So sweet! We're really gonna miss the weekly visits from Grandma and Grandpa when we leave!

Angela finally went to the doctor for a doctor visit last week. She hadn't been since her 6 month checkup because I planned to just skip the 9 month and go at 12 months, but there was confusion over her medical coverage when she turned a year and i took two months to fix, so we just waited for the 15 month milestone! She had to get 6 shots, which was sad. After 3 months of breakouts on her face, back, arms and legs, she finally got some prescription stuff for her ringworm, so hopefully that will be taken care of before long.

We're under contract to sell our condo and things are looking good. Our due dilligence ends tomorrow and then we have one more week for a financial contingency during which the buyer can back out if he isn't able to secure financing, but things are looking good. Annoyingly, we do have to put like $600 into fixing stuff that ain't broken. 

The a/c compressor (the outside component) is on a concrete slab that has settled and tilts slightly side-to-side. The inspector noted this as a potential problem. Since we needed to have an a/c professional come and do a routine tune-up anyway (another suggestion from the inspection), we agreed to have it fixed if the service dude determined it was necessary. So the guy came and looked everything over and mentioned that the intake area under the filter was a bit dustly and the antifreeze was slightly low, but it was an insignificant amount and the hvac was having no problem producing cool air. He mentioned nothing about the slanting compressor, after looking at it thoroughly. So, I thanked him and asked him to note on the invoice that the compressor pad did not need to be straightened. He was confused and so I explained that it was part of a buying agreement and instantly everything changed. Not only did he suddenly insist that the pad WAS NOT okay and DID need to be replaced, he also said that the intake filter needed to be removed and cleaned and the antifreeze topped off. URGH. Should have known better than to leave it to the opinion of a professional who could stand to make a profit off of saying that there were necessary repairs. He also pressured me to buy a contract instead of paying for the one-time tuneup, saying it was transferable to the buyer and with the contract discount on repairs it would be cheaper, but after he left, I did the math and it was slightly more expensive to pay for the contract, PLUS we're already buying an appliance warranty for the buyer, so it is just completely useless. ARGH. And to add to my frustration, I made an appointment for Thursday for them to come back and do the repairs and I received a call from the dispatcher around lunchtime telling me that I was next on the schedule, so I waited around all afternoon and they never came. Around five, I called to ask what was going on, and the secretary just told me that I was scheduled for the following day. I know that I did not schedule for that day because I had plans the following day and plus the dispatcher called me that afternoon, so I knew I wasn't just confusing the time that I scheduled, but the lady was really condescending and just kept repeating that my appointment was tomorrow instead of offering any excuse as to why it would have been changed or why I would have received a call that afternoon. ANYWAY, I have been very irritated about this whole experience. And it's not even over. Now I have to wait until the middle of next week for the guy to actually come back and do the repair. And who knows what other non-issues he will uncover during the repair that he insists are necessary to fix as well. Customer service and professional integrity are dead. I look forward to the day when micah ONLY works 40-50 hours a week and can be home nights and weekends to learn how to take care of problems around the house himself.

Micah was supposed to have his thesis submitted to his reading committee this week. He has failed, but hopes to make it by next week. He stayed overnight at school Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week. We're both exhausted and still have a lot of work ahead of us before we head out. Movers will be packing up our stuff on the 17th, loading it out on the 18th, and then, 2 weeks from today on the 20th, we'll be driving down. I'm struggling to decide what to pack to bring with us in the car, as this will be all we have for the next 1-2 months. The rest of our stuff will be going into storage until we can find a house and then we'll have it all delivered. I was worried about clothes, since I already packed away all of the girls' long sleeve shirts and pants in storage. I was thinking, "If we get well into October, maybe even November, we'll be needing cold-weather clothes", but then I looked up the monthly forecasts for Melbourne. HOLY. CRAP. This place that we're moving is like a firey pit of hell! It NEVER gets cold! The high NEVER goes below 70. I knew that the winters were mild, but I never actually bothered to look up specifically what that meant. I am going crazy now. I'm never going to get to wear pants or sweaters again. NOOOOOOOOO! 

I'm at a frustrating point right now when it comes to clothes. My weight and shape has fluctuated so much in the last 3 years. Right now I weigh about the same as I did when I was graduating from college before having children, but nothing fits me the same and I have no idea what size I really am. I get so upset trying to shop for clothes because it really seems like nothing fits me- I try on the same thing is different sizes and one is too tight in one area, but the next size up is way too baggy in another area. And it's already tough to find comfortable, modest clothes for hot climates. I sweat a lot and it's really embarrassing. But I don't want to wear black in the frikkin-hot Florida sun. I really need new temple garments, but the styles and sizing have changed in the last year and are about to change once more, so I can't figure out a size that really works, especially in bottoms that can be worn with shorts. And exacerbating the issue is the fact that I generally have the girls with me when I go shopping and so I can't spend more than 60 seconds looking at any one thing or Angela will start screaming. How do I keep myself from slipping into sloppy T-shirts and baggy men's pants!? 

I'm worried about our house search. I keep going back and forth in my mind over what my priorities should be. The market seems high right now, so it might not be the time to really invest in a more expensive home if prices are inflated. It makes more sense to purchase a cheaper home that will be sufficient for our immediate needs so that we can purchase more when prices are lower. But at the same time, I really want a stronger sense of permanence. I feel like, living here for the past 4 years, I feel as if our future move was always on my mind. I want to enjoy living in our home, not worrying about where I will live next. I want a place that we won't outgrow as easily as we have our current place. And I don't want a split-plan ranch, which narrows down the possibilities quite a lot. 

I'm feeling really pessimistic right now, if ya can't tell. Hopefully working through a busy couple of weeks will get me focused more on the present and I won't feel so anxious about things!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


I only think to pull out the camera at the lamest moments these days. But it's better than nothing, I guess!

Angela exhibits her love of fried eggs and begs for backyard chickens.

This is a "Train" that Natalie made while I was trying to keep the toys cleaned up to show our place.

Natalie insisted that I strap her into her booster so that she could walk around with it hanging off her behind and sit down on it wherever she wanted.

Mall play place= our favorite place ever

Second favorite place: Ice cream store

Cousins! Agle children are much more photograph-friendly here, my girls were being goofy.

With Micah gone so much, there has been quite a bit of this

And this:
Totally chillaxing for Saturday morning cartoons.

Now that the temperature has gone down a bit, we can enjoy the zoo again Yay!

Angela found this bird hiding back there and she thought it was the coolest thing ever

And Natalie is naturally drawn to primates that are as fussy in the face as her dear father.

Learning to recognize all of the venomous snakes that we will encounter in Florida

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Travels and Travails: A Brief Summary

Eleven days ago, we did one final clean and left our home to be sold while we went on a trip to see family in North Carolina and search for a new home in Florida. Unfortunately, the only success we had was in visiting family.

In the last week before listing our condo, I was not thrilled with our realtor- I kept asking her if there were things to be done or if she wanted to stop by and look at the place (she only saw it once on a walk-through several months ago) and then, the NIGHT of the day that we were planning to list, she sent us tons of paperwork and wanted to list it at a higher price than we had discussed earlier. We felt like our place should cost less than other units selling in the area because it is not in pristine condition, but she was very confident and so we just trusted her. She's a pretty confident professional and has a lot of experience, what's not to trust? She knew that going under contract quickly was a priority and that we didn't care about making much money on it. Well, wouldn't you know it, the feedback is coming in and everyone says it's overpriced. We had well over a dozen people come to see it and no offers. I feel really irritated because we did a lot of work and I feel like the realtor isn't carrying her weight- she said she would be holding an open house the first Sunday that it was on the market and that she would have a professional photographer come, neither of which happened. I feel like her description made it sound so pristine when it's really not and so most potential buyers were disappointed. Now we need her to reach out and invite offers and communicate to buyers that we're really not looking to get top dollar, but she's been completely unresponsive. And now we're back home with the kids and it is going to be incredibly stressful to continue showing and trying to manage the messes of daily life with two toddlers. Unless the next couple of days bring an offer that is wildly above anything that we expected, she WILL be getting a scathing online review. At least the pressure to sell quickly is slightly less because....

We didn't find a home in Florida. There was one house that we loved and we were ready to make an offer, but we were on very different planes when it came to the value. The home was older but clean and well-updated on an acre of land just a couple of miles from the heart of town, but the neighborhood was really sketchy with some older homes that were falling apart and neighbors with broken appliances and furniture heaped all over the yard. Our realtor reached out with comps to justify a valuation significantly below their asking price, and their realtor said that the owners just wouldn't go there. The silver lining? When we move down there in late September, it will probably still be on the market and the buyers might be able to get on board with a price we could agree to.

We DID get to visit my Dad and stepmom LeAnn, my sister Darlene and her family, Micah's sister Chere and her family, as well as some brief sightings of my brother Paco. It was so good to get out and see everybody and to have Micah around. Now, he has one more month of crazy work in which he MUST crank out a finished thesis and I MUST NOT lose my mind and strangle my children and set fire to my condo.