Thursday, January 14, 2016

Where and When Are You Moving? And When Is That Baby Due?

I haven't written in awhile, because while keeping 4 kids 5 and younger alive, we're packing up our stuffselling our house, moving in with my parents, buying a house in Houston, moving to Houston, and somewhere in there, having a baby, somewhere. The timeline is vague. The location is vague. I don't do well with vague. 

So my increasingly powerful nesting instinct has been re-directed to remotely micro-manage a new house search in Houston. 

I said I wasn't picky--we just need a house in north Houston with a fenced backyard. But then I was like, it's not crazy to want four bedrooms for a 7-person family that seems to have annual babies. And then it became a 2-car garage, in a neighborhood with sidewalks, one-story, a nearby park, and a living room big enough for the giant sectional that's currently stored in my parents' garage (with all our other stuff). Did I mention my parents are saints?

From what we've seen, in our price range, we'll be lucky to find a house that isn't sinking into its own marsh with hypodermic drug needles scattered in the yard. 

Let's talk about Home-Owners Associations. North Houston does HOAs like southerners do church. You just do it. Everyone does it. Because it's what you do. Stop asking questions. ISIS could cease international fundraising if they just ran a couple neighborhood HOAs in north Houston. Neighbors pay hundreds of dollars every year, to someone, for something, but there are no sidewalks, no parks, no pools, no community centers. Where is all the money going? 

Once we're settled in Houston, Wally might quit his job and run for HOA president instead. In a neighborhood of 500 houses, each paying $300 in HOA fees annually, we'll be able to live quite comfortably. 

My texts to Wally vary daily: "Please buy a house. Any house. I don't care about details," to "Nothing less than 1500 square feet," and after taking two babies and all their stuff up-and-down stairs all day: "Don't you dare buy a house with stairs!"

Wally's re-living bachelorhood in a small garage apartment in The Woodlands, since his new job actually started 6 weeks ago. He says he misses us. It's probably true, but hard for me to translate into emotional support while changing diapers at one a.m.

My parents are letting us live with them while we try to get a house in Houston. If a pregnant woman with four young kids asked to move in with me indefinitely, I would definitely say no, wouldn't even think about it. We're trying to be good house guests, you know, clean up messes right away, don't interrupt the household's laundry cycle, keep the crying to a minimum. It's hard to keep it all together like that for more than 3 consecutive days. We're going on 9 weeks. 

I cope by gratuitously spending our house-buying savings on McDonalds any time, Lunchables, pre-packaged fruit, and twice-a-week Mother's Day Out (so I can do indulgent things like doctor's appointments and grocery shopping alone). 

Mother's Day Out is crazy expensive for four kids. Understandably, because taking care of four kids is crazy. But this Lutheran church has the nicest people I've ever met. If I were going to join a church just based on people being super nice and loving toward a complete stranger and her weird family, I would go there.

I'll leave this picture here: 



It's difficult to tell what's going on, but should give a good idea of how our house search is going. Before going to view this house, the owner's realtor let us know there had been a minor drainage issue, but it was all resolved. The house is literally falling into a creek.

Also, I tried to take a Christmas photo of our family, because everyone else was doing it. This is as good as I got. 



Bader Family 2015