Thursday, May 19, 2016

Flying, Funerals and Family

Mike lost his Father a few weeks ago, so we headed to Wisconsin for the funeral.
It was Tommy's first time flying, (he's three) so we really didn't know what to expect.
Pre-Tommy, Mike and I were usually the passengers on a flight with that annoying, screaming, and kicking kid behind us. You know the one I mean! We couldn't get over how rude parents were, to let their kids just go wild on an airplane, so we decided if we ever had our own children, we would wait to fly with them and practice, practice, practice. Practicing entails Mike and Tommy sitting on the couch STILL with a belt wrapped around them for an extended period of time. Good idea right? He was also told ahead of time that we do not kick the seat in front of us or scream. Your welcome passengers!
So the day came and he was excited and ready. We entered the airplane and headed to our seats. Click went the seat belts and we were on our way.
This picture captures that special "first flight" moment.

And then, the fun began! Air vents and lights are apparently fun, fun, fun!

And sleep? There is NO SLEEP when Tommy's in tow!

Tommy managed to spill my coffee, and stuck rubber dinosaurs up Mike's nose while he slept. He was bored and his ears hurt, which is why he was allowed to have the "paci," and he almost went crazy with his tray table going up down, up down, up down. I say "almost," because we as parents said,"NO!" Can you imagine? I'm sure he'll be scarred for life (insert sarcasm here). We finally arrived and headed to baggage and this happened!

Can you imagine?
The nerve of him sleeping when we got to baggage, the nerve!
But- we made it, and I will say this.... Tommy did NOT bother one other passenger. He only tortured US which is a win win in my book!
The trip was nice. Tommy got to spend time with his Grandma Ginny and was in heaven running around with his five cousins. They flattened pennies on the rail road tracks, and fed Chester the bunny, and we even managed to take a trip to the Milwaukee Zoo.
The day of the funeral we said our final goodbyes to Mike's Father, and as sad as it is that he's gone, he brought us all together again. It's funny how funerals do that isn't it?
 Life is good, and Wisconsin was beautiful.
~RIP Don Mechelke~

Monday, April 25, 2016

Our Move-PART 7 and Scarlett Johansson

That's us. See us? 
Hi Everyone! 
Hope you had a nice weekend. 
Thank you for your response to the cactus debate. Three of the cacti have found a place outside, near our side entrance. They were the most pointy of the 6, and since cacti are great (outside) placed near doors for protection, that is where I thought they should be. I kept the three more rounded cacti and I am loving them inside.
Now on to PART 7! Obviously we made it, and things have been going really well. It's amazing how just a change in your surroundings can have such a positive impact on your life. It just feels fresh, new, and happy here. 
Since arriving in our new crib, Michael has been working NONSTOP. He had to make a sort of makeshift studio before he can renovate, because of all the work that has come in. It's seriously crazy! Some would say coincidence, but not me. I don't believe in coincidences. 
Here he is in his new studio. I love how I can see (and not hear) him from the family room of this house.

We've met most of the neighbors who have made a point to either knock on the door, or walk over when they see us outside, just to welcome us and introduce themselves. Michael said,"Are we in Pleasantville?!" It's the kind of neighborhood where kids are riding their bikes and  families are out taking walks. People walk in the middle of the street here, and smile and wave as you pass by and not in a creepy way but in a how it used to be in the 70's when  was growing up. Know what I mean? It's just nice. 
We STILL aren't unpacked but these things take time right? 
Ok, now here's the BEST PART OF ALL! Turns out Scarlett Johansson lived here! YES, right here in THIS very home when she was a kid. Mike met our neighbor across the street who has lived in his house for 35 years and says she and her family lived here! What?! Okay, my life is complete. We find out little things about this house everyday, and that one takes the cake!
What are you up to this week? Mike's mom is coming to visit tomorrow, so we are getting ready for that.
Have a sweet week!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Cactus Dilemma

Photo: Lea Andrew
Yesterday I took Tommy to a cactus farm, because I love some good cactus decor!
 It was kind of in the middle of nowhere off a dirt road, and I'm not gonna lie, at first I felt a little weary driving down that desolate dirt road being a young woman with a three year old, but I had Mike's big "don't F with me" pickup truck so I threw caution to the wind and decided to continue. When we arrived there were many cars in the dirt lot and my little voice told me it was safe. 
We hopped out of the car and into cactus heaven! This place was beautiful! One greenhouse after another FULL of different types of cactus and succulents. Upon entrance you received a map with a price list and ruler because the price depended on the size of the pot. It was a bit overwhelming and HOT, and Tommy got pricked a few times even though I said,"Don't touch," but we chose 6 different cacti and were on our way.
When I got home I was so excited to start my cactus decor. I hopped onto the internet to check out a few of my favorite cactus decor ideas but also came across several articles about a superstition that cactus inside the home can cause BAD LUCK! What?!!!!!! Really? Has anyone ever heard of this? I now have six beautiful new cacti that I feel weary of placing around our new house. I know, stupid right? But there are also several cultural contradictions. 
For example the Chinese believe that you should never place a cactus near or around the front door, because the sharp edges block fresh and life giving energy from entering into your home. However, the Greeks believe that every entryway should have a large cactus to ward off the "evil eye" from the property. What to do, what to do? 
I'm a strong believer that you can "WILL" anything to happen, so for now I'm going to enjoy my cacti and try not to think too much of it. If I notice a strong change in the energy, they will have to go. Simple as that! Have you ever heard of such a thing? I'd love to hear your stories.
In the mean time, check out some of my favorite cactus decor!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Our Move PART-6

Sneak peek of the new master bath.

Hi! Hope you had a nice weekend.
Jake's surgery was a success! He's a bit groggy and uncomfortable, but who isn't after surgery right? Now, where were we? Oh! The move.
Aside from losing two days of packing due to the stomach flu, we were pretty organized, and were ready for our movers. The movers that I had an email, phone call and voice mail confirmation with for an 8 a.m. move Monday morning. 
Monday morning 8 a.m. arrives, but the movers don't arrive. By 9 a.m. I'm a little worried, so I call and I'm told my appointment is for 11 a.m. What?! Now let me give you some background here. It WAS originally scheduled for 11 a.m. but I had changed the time to 8 a.m. one week prior because Mike had his ONLY gig of the month that night and I didn't want to cut it close. That's right, his ONLY gig was the night of our move. 
Anyway, the guy who I scheduled, and confirmed the move with, tells me that I MAY have
 changed the time but he doesn't remember so he has no movers for me. What? I have TWO closings tomorrow and have to be out of this house! He transfers me... OF COURSE! The next guy (Charles) is basically blaming me and says he will have someone there when he can. I say that I feel I should be compensated in some way. His answer, (very rudely) is that he will discount me 1/2 hour! Really? 11 a.m. (my so called appt. time) came and went. What was their excuse now? I'm in full panic mode, so I make Mike call, because after all it's STILL (unfortunately) a man's world so maybe they'll listen to him! They assure him they will get a crew there soon. They call back to inform me they finally find a crew but their moving truck broke down so they will be arriving in a Budget rental truck. Really? I mean could I make this stuff up? Mike got nervous and asked me if this was in fact a legit company. They FINALLY arrive at 2:30 p.m. 3 1/2 hours past my so called correct moving time but who's counting? Mike has to leave by 5 p.m. The truck looks small, but I am assured they can fit everything. Now, the movers are pretty good. Fast! but they can't fit it all on the truck. What?! Poor Mike runs to his gig while Tommy and I pack as much as we can into my car then head to a hotel. As I'm leaving my house I'm feeling overwhelmed and scared. There is just so much left! Mike has to run to his gig, and then stays up ALL NIGHT bringing truck loads to a storage unit we thankfully rented for valuables! He stayed up 24 hours and had two closing the next day. The man is AMAZING! Yes AMAZING which is a word I rarely use because it's completely overused and for something to be truly AMAZING is unusual. But there you have it, he was AMAZING!
Two closing the next day and then the movers HOPEFULLY show up to deliver our stuff to the new house. Did they arrive?
Stay tuned!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Our Move PART-5 (Jake)

Hi Everyone,
Gotta take a moment in my "Our Move" series to talk about a very important part of our family. This little guy is Jake and he's a moving pro. He's already moved five times in his short life. He went from Brazil (yes Brazil) to two apartments in NYC and now to his second home in Florida. He's a little trooper and he's my faithful companion who follows me around everywhere.
 I was a nervous wreck when the movers were around with the fear he might get stepped on, and wouldn't you know it but I ended up stepping on him! Unfortunately it dislocated his hip so the vet is going to perform surgery on him today. 
Please keep my little buddy in your prayers. Life would not be the same without him, and we look forward to bringing him home later this afternoon.
Thanks in advance, and have a nice weekend.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Our Move PART-4

Here is a sneak peek of our new house!
Do you notice it? That crazy door knob in the MIDDLE of the door? Strange right?

Okay, so offers accepted on BOTH homes and now we're ready to move. This is where reality bites. Moving is expensive! I mean.... from home inspections, to closing permits, to repairs, to realtor and mortgage broker fees, to movers, to home insurance, it's not cheap! This is where my first moving tip comes in.

#1- DO NOT BUY BOXES! Just don't! There are plenty of boxes in the world. I had friends save me boxes, I went dumpster diving, asked supermarkets and pretty much ANY store I was in for boxes. MOST complied. What most people don't know about me is that I'm a bit of a tree hugger, so aside from the fact that boxes are a rip off, you are also destroying trees in the process. So DON'T! In the end we only bought a few wardrobe boxes. And the best place to get boxes for FREE? Ready? TUESDAY MORNING!  They have a huge crate full just waiting for you to rescue them. Michael stumbled upon this little secret. Photo of Tuesday Morning box crate. Your welcome! 
Photo courtesy of Michael Andrew
#2-Start packing NOW! You think you don't have a lot of stuff? Well, you'd be surprised! You realize how much you have when you're moving! I kept telling Michael that I felt like our house was like a clown car. Just when I thought I was done, I'd open a cabinet or drawer and BAM! More stuff! Start packing when you are even thinking of moving. Get rid of stuff. Donate, throw it out! 

#3- Buy colored duct tape! I read this little tidbit on Pinterest. I bought different rolls of colored tape on Amazon, and assigned a color to each room. Tommy's room was red (his favorite), the Living room was yellow, kitchen, blue etc. etc. That way when the movers were delivering our stuff it was a lot easier (and faster) for them to deliver each box to the correct room. You can even make a chart for the movers. See HERE. I put a strip from the top down to the side so they could see it from either direction. Now don't get me wrong, this technique is NOT foolproof! We still had boxes delivered to  the wrong rooms, but I'll equate that with laziness. There, I said it!

#4-Be organized! Moving companies charge by the hour, so being organized is key! If the movers are waiting around for you to continue to pack, you are wasting time and money. Mike and I did a good job packing, considering we lost 2 days of packing due to the stomach flu. We also kept all the colored boxes in groups. That way the movers literally could grab and go. Our entire house that Mike owned for 25 years was moved out in 3 hours! And ,everything was moved into our new house in 2 hours. That's FAST! But, there's more to that story in a future post, so don't be too impressed yet.

#5-Pack a suitcase with immediate needs! I packed one suitcase with clothes and toiletries for Mike, Tommy and myself. Tommy's section also included toys, snacks and any other need a toddler has because believe you me, you do NOT want to be dealing with a fussy toddler when moving! 

#6-Don't forget to forward your mail, and have the utilities turned on in your new place. Don't forget to turn OFF all utilities in your old place too. It takes USPS 8-10 business days to process your mail forward even after your request so make sure to do it on time. 

#7-Pack all bedding, blankets and pillows in Hefty bags. I called the moving company ahead of time to make sure this was okay. They said absolutely! Just not knives. I said,"Really?" They said,"Oh, yeah. We've seen it all!" You can pack clothes in bags too. Get the strong ones.

#8-Accept the help of friends! Not having any family in town for our move was hard. Especially with Tommy, and because our movers screwed up and couldn't fit all of our stuff on the truck, THANK GOD for friends. We had two good friends come over the night of our move at 12am to help Mike load his truck. I also had a good friend take off of work during our closings to watch Tommy. Thank God for friends!

#9-Get a hotel! Depending on what your situation is, it's nice to have a place to crash. Especially if you can't immediately move into your house. We got a hotel for 2 days with credit card points (so basically FREE) so we'd have a place to put our valuables, and sleep the night before our closing. We closed on BOTH homes in one day, so we couldn't stay in our old house waiting to move into the next.

#10-Order takeout and have a drink! There is no way you are cooking in a new home. It took me a few days just to find a drinking glass let alone cook. Order out, but make sure you have a bottle of champagne or an ice cold beer to celebrate!

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Our Move-PART 3

We finally had an offer on our house! 
It was close to our asking price, so we accepted. I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was bitter sweet because we loved that house, and now had nowhere to go, but the buyers truly loved our house, and that meant a lot. 
She was a designer, and appreciated our style, and asked us to leave lighting fixtures and decor which we gladly did. Now we needed a house FAST!
I had seen another house close to the one we wanted and lost, but passed by the listing several times because it seemed dated, yet something kept drawing me back to it.
It was in the location we wanted, had great square footage and in law/nanny suite that could possibility work for Mike's studio. I knew we could make anything our own because Mike can pretty much build and update anything, so we asked our realtor for an appointment to see it.
Now... I'm not gonna lie. The curb appeal was a huge turn off, especially for Mike whose father built homes for a living, but I said,"Let's just give it a chance!" I didn't want to be like one of those annoying couples on HGTV who can't get past a paint color!
The space was impressive. It was walking distance to the schools and was on an end lot which meant Tommy would have the childhood we dreamt about; riding his bike around and playing with other kids in the street. The pool was impressive, and there were 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. Five bathrooms! I know!
It was painted a fresh coat of (thankfully) white, but the decor was affecting us. The bathrooms were 80's dated, and so was the kitchen and Mike really didn't know if the in law suite would work as his studio, so we left thinking it wouldn't work. We were being THOSE people. The one's who can't get past the decor. Shame on us! 
We went home that night, and talked..... and talked...... and sent the pics to some family members, and talked again. After thinking long and hard that renting a place and moving twice would be a big pain in the butt. We decided to see it again, and after the second time we decided to make an offer even if it meant doing some updates and moving again in a few years. Mike included a letter and picture about our family. The VERY sweet woman who lived there countered and we accepted. It was scary. We were buying this house we weren't truly in love with, and the street name couldn't have been more fitting.

  1. used to express exhilaration, especially when leaping from a great height or moving at a high speed.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Our Move- PART 2

This is NOT our new house. This is our old house, "Swingerhead Central" to be exact. Isn't it cute? This little Swiss Chalet was a great house for us. Mike lived here 25 years and I lived here 10 years, and boy if these walls could talk! Mike counted one day and figured out that about 43 different people lived here during that time! Mostly musicians and entertainers. People still come up to him talking about the great parties that occurred here. Most of which he wasn't even at!
This house was built in 1926, and had the most wonderful energy,  complete with  a kick "A" recording studio, Polynesian/Tiki kitchen, Moroccan bathroom, full sized palm tree in the master bedroom, wood floors, crown molding and charm galore. 
We loved this house. But, once Tommy came into the picture we knew we had grown out of it, and as much fun and happiness that occurred in this house, this house had also seen it's fair share of sadness. With the death of our daughter, the energy had become stagnant and we knew it needed fresh new buyers to revive it again. So we began our search.

Mikes needs....
-A space for a recording studio and control room
-A shop for his building projects
My needs......
-Better schools
A guest room for all of our out of town family and friends
-A garage
-A pool

Sounds easy right? Well it wasn't! Mike was very attached to Swingerhead Central. He had put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this house and had customized it to his needs. Even so, he knew it was time so we started looking and found a house that we felt would work well and Swingerhead Central was put on the market. Long story short, it took us 7 months to sell our little Swiss Chalet! Not that we didn't have offers, we did, but Floridians are afraid of old homes so it took a particular buyer to appreciate the charm. Everyday, we would pray that those buyers would come, and come in time for us to buy that dream house we found. Well.... we DID find that buyer but 3 days short of buying that dream house and plenty of hiccups along the way!
Stay tuned....

Monday, April 11, 2016

Our Move- PART 1

Hi everyone! How have YOU been? 
We are FINALLY moved into our new house, and it's a bit chaotic with boxes everywhere, but we couldn't be happier! This house just feels right, and we haven't stopped smiling since we arrived. It's as if this house has been waiting for us. Waiting for us to start our next  chapter. Michael and I constantly find new things that make us happier every second. This house was used by the builder of our town, so it has lots of special little perks. Things you don't think about or appreciate until you have them. For example there are tons of outlets in each room. Tons! Who knew outlets would be such a luxury, but they are!  Then there's the lights. Tons of lights in each  room and every switch has a dimmer. Love! Tommy LOVES his new room and has never slept so well. We have much more space and Mike is really excited about his new recording studio. It's a work in progress, but it's going to be a fun.
But- don't be fooled, it wasn't easy. A good friend recently said to me that nothing worth having comes easy, and she's 100% right! So, stay tuned for "Our move posts." They are sure to entertain and I'll be sharing lots of tips to help you with YOUR next move, but in the mean time, here are a few highlights.....

-Mike and I got the stomach flu!
-Our movers never arrived with TWO closings the very next day!
-My sitter thought I said Thursday instead of Tuesday!
-The WRONG house was appraised for our home insurance!
-When movers did arrive, all of our stuff didn't fit on the truck!
-Oh, and I stepped on Jake and dislocated his hip after protecting movers from stepping on him for two days!
But we made it. We made it and we are alive and well, and we DESERVE THIS!
Nothing worth having comes easy, right?
Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Life Lately

Hi Friends! How are you? 
That picture above is the house we're hopefully moving into in two weeks. As I mentioned before we've been trying to sell our house in order to buy our dream house. We FINALLY sold our house, but things kind of worked out differently than we expected. We were three days late in buying that "dream house." we wanted. Yup, THREE DAYS!
Life always seems to have a way of working out though doesn't it? Turns out, not getting that "dream house," has been a blessing. We found a house in the same neighborhood just a few blocks from the other house, which is a bit larger and quite a bit cheaper. Have you seen the movie Boogie Nights? Well we think we may have bought that house! Ha ha! It needs some upgrades, but when you have a husband like mine that's no biggie. Mike can build anything, and this gives us a chance to really make the house our own. The house is within walking distance of the "dream schools" we want for Tommy and is tucked away into the neighborhood like our own little private oasis. It has plenty of room for family and friends to visit and has the pool I was hoping for. Tommy has already picked out his room, Mike is working on creating a new recording studio and I'm thinking about paint colors, flooring and cabinetry! 
In the mean time, we've been running around like crazy packing and trying to get organized to close on both homes April 5th. Eeeeeeek! Exciting and stressful all at the same time. So that's where we've been folks. Get ready for a ton of "before and after" posts. We can't wait to get started on this new adventure in. 
Stay tuned!