Saturday, March 19, 2016

Sturm and Drang

Goodness friends, it's been a wild ride! I've been crafting this post in my head for a while now but all the storm and stress of preparing for an overseas move has gotten in the way. Soon after we received orders, I resigned from my work-at-home position. My new full-time job is keeping the house clean and photo-ready with 4 kids and a dog, as well as to research and secure housing in Hawaii... and everything in between! Plus it wouldn't be very realistic to continue in my position, after we move, with a 5-6 hour time difference.

Jude's vision of Hawaii. Where's Daddy you ask?

Why, he's surfing, of course!
I don't think everyone fully understands the responsibility that is keeping a house clean with small children. So I created these videos to help illustrate just what exactly we're talking about here. They're a bit long, but that's only because I covered the whole house. Yes, my kids affect my entire house. Let's just say we won't be posting these video tours for potential buyers!

One of the simplest ways, I've found, to keep the house clean is to just stay out of it. That's been a little easier these last few weeks because we've had lots of paperwork to get signed. Every single member of this family has to have a doctor and dentist sign off to verify we're healthy enough to travel overseas. That includes the dog, people. And speaking of the dog, he has to undergo a 120 day rabies quarantine. Which means he won't be able to arrive at the island until about 2 weeks after us. That might not be a bad thing.

Don't be fooled. As fickle as the month of March, one minute these two are all lovey-dovey BFFs, the next they're tearing out each others' hair over who gets to use the plastic "fishy spoon."
I also had to complete a short interview with the military to confirm that I was aware we were moving to Hawaii. I mean, is this a thing? Do some military personnel put in for/receive orders to overseas places and not inform their spouses? If so, I'd love to hear the story. Please.

One of the biggest challenges of this whole transition is feeling divided between two major events: leaving Maryland (and all that entails) and arriving in Hawaii (and all that entails.) Plus the in between, because timing is EVERYTHING.

Joci loves Noonday!
There are certain days of the week when all I do and think about is prepare to leave our current home--we're prepping to put it on the market, cleaning out all the things we don't need anymore, starting to pack up other stuff to get it out of the way. And then there are other days when I'm completely Oahu-focused--researching towns and neighborhoods there, downloading school paperwork, searching for houses ... Two very different places with two very different goals and I feel like my brain is split in half!

Thankfully, I'm married to quite the planner. He regularly keeps me updated with task lists and timelines. He's also already planned our fly-out date, reserved our temporary housing in Hawaii, and planned out his final days of work here and first days of work there. The tricky part will be determining the date we need to get our current house packed out and when we should pull the boys out of school. It is stressful, ya'll!

Friend's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Never again.
So here were are in March--one of my favorite months because of our anniversary and one of my least favorite because it is so indecisive.  One minute the birds are chirping and the daffodils are peeking up, the next it's cold and raining and the weatherman is threatening snow! And in between it all is THE MUD! The mud that these children continue to track all over my freshly mopped floors.

March - enjoying snowscapes in my backyard

Also March - eating Coconut Milk Chocolate Ice Cream on the back deck.
So yes, March. The month we're listing our house in the market. The plan was to send the kiddos to Pennsylvania for spring break and what will probably be their last Grandy Camp for some time. And then we were going to officially go on the market, hold an Open House, plan for lots and lots of showings during the week the kids weren't here, and then pray for an offer. Oh, and in the meantime, I was going to blog about all I learned about keeping my house show ready, meal recipes that don't cause your kitchen to stink, and all those cute little realtor tips I've come across on Pinterest.

Keeping the kitchen stink-free by cooking bacon on the back deck!

Keeping the kitchen stink-free with Apple, Cheddar, Spinach Salad with Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette:
It was a great plan! And we had a dry run of it all over the weekend when our realtor set up an early showing. But perhaps I'm moving to fast. First, lemme just say we adore our realtor. She was recommend to us by some military friends and within the first few minutes of meeting her we knew she was perfect for us! She's a former Marine spouse and has moved 20 times herself. Needless to say, she knows what's up! One of the things that really sold me on her was her suggestion for pre-marketing. It's when you send out an upcoming listing as "coming soon" to raise interest before it's even put on the market. It's really handy for people that are searching NOW for houses that will be available LATER. People like me and my fellow military people, for example!

We did our own version of pre-marketing. It's called two cute girls having a picnic on the front lawn waving at everyone that drives by.
So a little over a week ago we pre-marketed our humble abode. We put a sign out in front that said "coming soon" and a stack of [very poorly designed] flyers. Zillow included a few teaser pictures of our kitchen (because a renovated kitchen is kinda a big deal here in the land of 1960s originals) as well as a few pictures of our house from last spring (taken by my iPhone, no less.) Just to give people an idea of what's to come. Before going to market, a professional photographer will come out and do some fancy pictures and then we would create a personal website just for this house.

But then the interest we created ended up being a lot more than we anticipated. People were calling from California, some military families were hoping to see it when they arrived in April, and the amount of cars that would s-l-o-w-l-y drive by, then turn around and come back again, was getting a little out of hand.

Pinterest suggested fresh flowers for house showings--not a problem! I would have baked fresh-bread but ran out of time!
Another realtor contacted our realtor and asked if her clients could come see the house early. They were coming from out of town to see the house down the street and were hoping to see ours at the same time. We had made a lot of headway on our to-do list by then so we said, sure, why not! And got to work checking off the last few items--which ended up taking almost all of two days. In fact, we were not moving as quickly as we hoped. So when the family arrived to see the house, the kids and I were still sitting in the car in the driveway, waiting for Jon, who was trying to clean the garage as quickly as possible. The best part of the story is when he waved at the potential buyers from outside, while standing in the yard holding a hatchet.

Subtle hints...
I counted 8 people (8 people!!), including a small child and an elderly grandma, as the kids and I pulled out and drove around the block before swinging back to nab Jon. Oh, did I mention the dog was in the car too? Also, Joci was screaming that she wanted out of her seatbelt, Julia was asking me to write down all her friends' names (it's a new kick she's on), Jack was crying that his ear hurt, and Jude was yelling that Jack was messing up his Minecraft world. Yay, house showing! It was STRESSFUL! Have I mentioned that enough times yet? Selling a house is STRESSFUL, you guys!

I got this little scale from Jon's grandparents' estate. Grammy used it to weigh my father-in-law when he was a baby! Anyone else notice that Joanna Gaines regularly uses scales in all her kitchen renos?!?

We bought lots of live plants for inside and outside the house. They'll have to stay, since we can't exactly move them overseas.

Not a new live plant. This one has survived at least a dozen moves since I had it long before I was married! I also picked up that candle stick for $1 at our "competitor's" estate sale down the street.

It took the entire drive to shake off the feeling that maybe we just weren't ready for this after all. And then we arrived at our friends' house, dropped off the dog, and went out to dinner with our besties and our combined 8 children.

And this is where I'll stop for now so I can quick clean up the house ... again.
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