May 20, 2015

The Slacker's Garden

Each fall, as I'm savoring the last of our homegrown veggies and bracing myself for another winter of hibernation, I proclaim that next year will be 'the year of the garden'. I vow to sew seeds indoors, build that gate, and get everything planted in the right spot and on the right schedule. And then, without fail, a baby or a project sails into our lives and eclipses all those garden plans. 2015 is proving no exception, and will now officially be dubbed, 'the year of the house'. 

With my brain in a frenzy over the impending packing of boxes, steaming of wallpaper, and converting of heating systems, the attitude towards gardening has been decidedly laissez-faire. We have direct seeded this and that, not worrying about being late or planning. With everything shifting and in an upheaval, it's a comfort to know that we will keep our little community plot, and gardening is proving a great family escape. Who knows what will grow, but maybe we will get lucky and finally achieve that effortless success I've always envied. And if it goes bust, there's always 2016.

*these photos are from my iPhone, and if you follow me on instagram you have seen most of them. that's a real pet peeve of mine! but our camera lens is struggling and i thought if i didn't blog soon, this space might grow cobwebs. the one benefit of the iPhone though is the ease of taking videos. this one below just makes me happy, our girl is easily entertained.

May 3, 2015

Holidays and House Hunting

Throughout this past winter, I became more and more obsessed with the idea of buying a house. It's something we've always hoped and planned for with a deadline of kindergarten enrollment a year from now, but Little Smith is so anxious about change that I really would love a full year to get settled, and maybe launch him into grade school with a few familiar faces. I have been stalking real estate listings as a hobby for years, but my intensity ramped up so much in recent months that James had no choice but to take it seriously and climb on board.

Owning a 'single family house' has been a lifelong dream for both of us house enthusiasts, but as luck would have it, we ended up locating ourselves in an area where that is no small feat. Add an extremely hot market to an already outrageously priced locale, and it's basically stomach turning to attempt to buy anything. Houses are snapped up the moment they list for well over asking. Anything that needs work is grabbed by 'flippers' with all cash deals, anything that doesn't need work is flooded with dozens of offers. It's all fast and competitive and very intimidating for a family like ours, without a small fortune buried under the mattress.

After a few heartbreaking (perhaps a spoiled use of the word when referring to housing, but that's how it felt!) twists and turns, we were starting to lose hope and decided to run away and celebrate Easter weekend on Martha's Vineyard. We took advantage of the off-season rates and splurged on a water view suite and a fancy holiday brunch. We never stay in hotels, and Little Smith kept asking if we were going to sleep in our tent and wandering down to the lobby in his pajamas, as though the whole place was his own personal home away from home. 

We took long walks on the beach, celebrated Easter with a big island egg hunt, strolled into town for dinner and stayed out late, by some miracle the kids even slept in one morning. Everyone was happy and light and everything felt easy. I can see why people do occasionally travel without camping, what a breeze!

We came back refreshed, the way I always want to feel at the end of a vacation, but rarely do. Then predictably, once we relaxed our focus, we got the thrilling news that a house we thought had slipped through our fingers was destined to be ours after all. Or it will be, at the end of this month!

We are so excited and freaked out and overwhelmed that I am finding it hard to visit this blog. As things are looking more and more certain though, I am feeling the urge return. What better a place to voice my deep conflict over levers versus knobs and best methods for stripping copious quantities of wallpaper... this is going to be fun!