Thursday, April 27, 2006

Everyone Needs a Book

I'm behind in my reading and thus don't have anything ready to review. But, this week Thing One brought home something he had written at school and I thought I would share it with you. It fits with my desire to blog about a book, even if I have nothing current to share.

A bit of background might help others appreciate the beauty of what he wrote. Thing One has always struggled with writing. I'm not sure exactly why that is. Probably a combination of factors: his quirks make him a real black and white kind of kid such that I don't think he's ever undertstood WHY he has to write things at school. His long standing struggle with fine motor strength has made it a not only a task he doesn't understand but also one that is physcially challenging for him. (On a side note, just like almost every been-there/done that parent and therapist had reassured us, his cursive is much better than his printing ever was or will be.) This year, we've seen some wonderful maturing and growth on so many levels. This essay is just another example of why we're so pleased with his progress and grateful for making that difficult decision to have him take another stab at second grade.

"Rules for why everyone needs a book"
Everyone Needs a Book
by Thing One C.
Rule 1. You could go anywhere in the world with a book
Rule 2. Like Tom Sawyer or Moby Dick
Rule 3. Also, not just a skinny book, get a chapter book
Rule 4. They can teach you important lessons
Rule 5. It can be about community helpers
Rule 6. It can teach you about a chef or a doctor
Rule 7. You can write your own book
Rule 8. You can read a book with a friend
Rule 9. Never ever ever rip a book
Rule 10. If you have a book, you have a friend
And, yes, I do have a book I'm I think I will head out and spend the quiet of the morning with just that friend!

Proof of experience

So, next week I'm supposed to start my new job with the school system. I'm going to be the over-educated, underpaid (but then again, any job in a school setting is underpaid) teaching assistant. I've thought it through and really feel like this is the right thing for me to do.

I just got a call from some administrator type, asking that I bring in my qualifications and proof of experience. Having never worked in a school before I said "does that mean my resume and other assorted documents supporting my education and work history?"

Her response took me back to all those little ladies working for the government (most wearing tennis shoes with their skirts): 'Oh no, I'll need letters from where you worked, proving you've worked with children".

Hmmm: lets create a paper trail when the proof is right in front of us two Things have been my work, for the past 8.5years. Do I ask them to writet the letter? Was I not approached about this job by the staff because of all the volunteer hours I have put in working with the students.

At this point, I have neither the time nor the inclination to dedicate toward the making of a paper trail. Sure, I may not end up with that extra dime or nickel an hours that the paper trail is designed to support/validate. They can keep the change: I just want to start doing what I enjoy the most...working with kids.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Meet Slugger...

He's all about baseball these days. I've even got him signed up for a team this summer. We'll see, it will be our first attempt at any sort of organized sport. With Thing One's issues, it just never seemed appropriate. But, Thing Two really wants to try it so what the heck, all we can do is try.

Now, let me introduce you to today's portrait of Slugger...

Oh wait, I didn't have my camera with me today. But, I was working with the school nurse when my cell phone rings. It is the assistant principal and she needs to chat with me. Sure, I'm in the building, I'll be right up. Seems Thing Two slugged some kid in his morning class. You know with kindergartners, there is ALWAYS a story that goes with it. But, the bottom line is that he made a poor choice and needed to endure the consequences. So, there he sat on the chair outside of the principals office. Missing first recess. Poor guy...he did indeed look pitiful but I hope he learned his lesson and realizes that the class Eddie Haskel (you know every class has an Eddie Haskell: one minute he's a brown-nosing Mrs. Cleaver and the next minute he's getting the Beaver in trouble!) can't be trusted. It is also important that he learn now that you are known by the company you keep. Hang around the thugs, and you too will likely end up serving some time!

Thanks for tuning into WMRC

As a kid, I remember building forts using my mom's card table and blankets. We'd make it our little cave and hang out there for hours on end. These days, your generic fort just isn't enough. No,today's kid has to take it to the next level.

It started with our friend's son, T, who built a library in their front room. He used the same construction materials that I used in my kiddie forts, but called it a library

On Sunday, Thing Two announced he wanted to build himself something different than a library. But, he would need my radio and all the kids cds I could find. Why I asked? Oh, because I"m building a radio station. Sure enough: using his t-shaped bunk beds and some extra blankets, he's created quite the little cozy nest. He made a sign and we talked about how radio stations get their names. He started out using just his initials, but I think the last time I peeked at his sign, he's added the initials of just about any of his pals he thinks might visit his place. He's got music, he's got some books, he even snuck some snacks upstairs in case he gets hungry.

Oh how I love their sense of imagination and willingness to create stuff without worry about how perfect it is. We could all learn a thing or two from our kids when it comes remembering to take time for creative play. Our imagination can take us far, if only we let ourselves soar.
*photos of the DJ and his tune shack are still pending

Monday, April 24, 2006

Tempting the Goddess of Spring...

I can't remember how Spring behaves in other parts of the world. We've lived here in Front of the Rockies for 9 years now so I've sort of forgotten what she is like elsewhere. But, here she is quite the Seasonal DIVA! She calls the shots and likes to be in charge. She often pops up unannounced in mid-to-late February and teases us with her warmth and soft winds. Then she turns the show back over to Winter and we get cold, wet and even some white stuff.

For the past couple of weeks, she has graced us with some amazing weather. She's brought color to my backyard in the form of flowers and budding trees. Some days have been windier than others but by far, She is the most well liked of the Seasons at least in my opinion. Not too hot, not too cold. In the words of Goldilocks, She is "just right!".

But, I'm afraid I might be getting ready to annoy her as I've done two things that suggest I am taking her warmth and pleasant nature for granted. Not only did I rotate out the Things clothing (putting the long sleeved shirts in the back of the closet and pulled out tshirts and even the shorts), but we've also decided to have a Housewarming Party this Saturday.

I guess I should go on record for apologizing for the Spring Blizzard that we are sure to have between now and the weekend! I have taken the Diva for granted and she will now punish us all. Or maybe not, she is after all, a fickle girl. Perhaps that's the real reason I like her so much: She is a lot like Me!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A Heart Loving Family...

I am certain that we can all agree that each family has its own set of rules. Not every family out there agrees on discipline issues, bedtimes, restrictions on video/tv watching, those sorts of issues. Our family quirk is that we are a scooter-skate board free zone. Not really a hot button issue for me as much as it is for my hubby. And, since I"m neutral on the matter, it is pretty easy to say "yeah sure, whatever!" His reasons are valid and as a nurse, yes, I am well aware of the various injuries that can occur when you use such items without proper gear. So, the boys have never had scooters or skateboards, nor will they likely ever be allowed to get them. Quirky and odd to some folks, but every family has its own quirks and this one is ours.

But since we moved into the cul de sac, I guess you could say we've fallen victim to community peer pressure. Gradually, the Things have been seen "borrowing" their pals equipment and neither one of us parents took immediate and swift action. Well, today hubby spotted Thing Two on a scooter without any protective gear. When confronted, Thing Two decided to debate the necessity of wearing gear. UH OH: BUSTED BIG TIME! We're now back to enforcing the rule and banning such equipment. It's one thing to be caught, it is another thing to try and argue with the cop who busted you. Never a good thing...better he learn that at 6 then try to teach it to him later on.

So, now that Thing Two has calmed down (why yes, he does have a flair for drama, and I plead the fifth as to who he has inherited this trait from), we explained to him the problem and the need to go back to the original rules.

And this is where he broke my heart: he says "Its ok because you know what, I may not have scooters but I do have a heart lovin' family and not many people have that, right Mom?"
I replied with "are you trying to sweet talk you way out of trouble?" and he looked at me ever so curious "no, Mom, it is true, we are a heart loving family and that's more important, right?"

Man, just when you think this job is too hard, your staff cuts you a break....

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ape Loving Thing

Most of you are aware that Thing One has his own set of challenges. Lots of women out there devote their entire blogs to their children's issues. That's not why I blog, but every so often I need to release certain feelings that I have with regards to his challenges. If you hadn't noticed yet, I'm definetly a "glass half full" kind of girl. And so ranting or lamenting on the challenges of raising a child with autism just really wouldn't be my style.

But, Spring is in the air, and he's got a bad case of Spring Fever. Today his teacher met me outside after school for one of THOSE chats. It has been so long since I've had such an encounter, I'd forgotten how protective I can get when it comes to my kids. Yes, I want both boys to be responsible and accountable for their actions. But, sometimes the expectations that they have for him, fail to take into consideration his quirks and it is those quirks that led to the diagnosis of autism.

While I"m huffing and puffing, trying to figure out how I want to tackle this newest bump in the roller coaster, he's happily doing the last piece of his homework. He's supposed to write three sentences in cursive. Problem is, he doesn't know all the letters yet. So, he goes with what he does know and comes up with this sentiment:

The Ape ate Table Two.
Thing One laughed.
Thing One loves apes.
Now, of course he used his own name. But you know what: in reading that, I am reminded again: I love those Things (and that hubby of mine!) more than anything out there! And, it is my job as his mom, to help him navigate his way through this process called school, while taking time along the way to educate a few educators about quirky kids!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Last night I dreamt about....

Scrapbooking! How lame is that?
Since we moved, I've only made time once to scrapbook and the pages I created were not some of best efforts. If one were to believe in dreams having meaning, I'm pretty sure this one meant I need to get back to the hobby I so enjoy...scrapbooking!

Ok, blog readers (especially if you are also a not so deligent scrapbooker or crafter of some sort), help me stay accountable. I promise to treat myself to at least 3 hours of scrapbooking in the next couple of days. Can you promise yourself a similar treat? (whatever your hobby or craft might be). Share your successes in the comment section (you need not be a blog member to comment)

Kindergarten Wisdom...

Thing Two just announced that "you can't High Five yourself without looking stupid"

I asked him where he heard that, and he said Ms. J (his morning kindie teacher) told him that.

Man, I"m liking Ms. J. more and more all the time!

Feverishly Bored?

No, not me, I'm a mom, boredom is not something I find myself encountering (although a friend who has been struggling with insomnia was asked by a not so smooth sleep study technician:" Oh, you're a SAHM? Perhaps you are bored and that's why you aren't sleeping so good?" Me thinks that technician has some issues with those of us who stay home? But, I"ll save that rant for another day)

No, Thing One is the one with a current case of boredom. (And actually, I don't think he's bored so much as he is annoyed by my recent decision to scale back on the after school social club that we've had going on the past couple of weeks) This afternoon, not only did he announce he was bored but that he had a Boredom Fever of 500 degrees! Wow: that must be bad sighs the very sarcastic mom.

So, in all my years as a nurse, I wasn't sure how one treats a boredom fever. Aspirin is out: don't want to run the risk of Reyes Syndrome. Thinking Tylenol and Advil also wouldn't help. But, as a seasoned Mom, I knew the exact cure...

"Well, if you are indeed burning up with boredom, perhaps I should take this transformer and give it to someone out there who isn't so overheated with boredom? Certainely, you are too ill to enjoy the plethora (oh how I love that word!) of toys that surround you?" is often the case, no more complaints of bordeom were heard from him (at least for today).

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Just pictures

Lately, I've been posting but not sharing pictures. And yes, I know sometimes you just check my blog for the photos. So here's a couple pictures.

Yes, here at the House of Chang, we hunt for eggs using nothing but the finest baskets. That is indeed a Longaberger that Thing Two is clutching! Ah, I remember when I treated those baskets with such care. Now you are very likely to hear me say: "sure kid, take it outside". Perhaps this is a sign that I have TOO many baskets? I'll take the 5th on that one...

Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? Not me cried Thing Two. Well guess what buddy, you've not only been caught but Mommy had her camera handy too!

Other kids are funny too...

I'm reminded it isn't just my Things that say goofy things. My friend Tracey is in Washington, DC this weekend, helping celebrate her brother's recent marriage. It was an impromptu decision (he is being deployed "over there" in a couple of weeks) and so she went without her family.

Her younger son comes up to me on Thursday, proud as can be "Miss Martha, we took my Mommy to Walmart today and she won't be back until Sunday!".

Yeah, makes sense, Walmart/Washington DC...sounds the same. I wonder if Tracey will see Mr. President while she's there? And if so, what will they chat about?

The Usual Rules

Not too long ago, I was watching a show on Fine Living (why yes, I was eating bon bons while lounging about in my jammies, exciting life of a the housewife that I lead). They were talking about ways to improve the quality of your life and one particular segment I liked was when they talked about starting a Mother-Daughter Book club. It was one of those few moments that I sighed, a little sad that I'm not raising a girl, because it would have been something fun to do once she got to be a teen. And if I had a daughter, I know one book for sure that we'd all have to read when the girls got to be around 13: The Usual Rules by Joyce Maynard.

As the author notes in her acknowledgments, the novel came out of a desire to tell the story of how it is that a young person can survive great and terrible heartache, with a certain sense of hopefulness about the future intact. Ms. Maynard selected September 11th as the starting point of her story and continues to follow the experiences of Wendy as she works through those initial months after she learns her mother won't be coming home from work ever again.

I admit, I was a bit worried about the starting point of the story. You are reading it, and you know exactly what is coming next. I found that my own memories of that sad day in September come flooding back to me. Yet even before you got to this point in the book, the author had already created a cast of very vivid and real characters that made you want to keep wanted to know how Wendy, her step dad Josh and her five yr old brother Louie handled those days immediately following the tragic events of Sept. 11th. And yes, you will find yourself a bit tearful here and there. But that's because the author does such a good job of using the language of a teen to convey what is in the hearts and minds of many folks when they suffer such a loss.

And althought it has been 27 years since I was 13, I found it interesting and intriguing to read a book told through the eyes of a 13 year old. I'd forgotten what that limbo was like: not completely done being a kid, yet also capable of thoughts more mature than I realized at the time. My only real complaint would be that I doubt a young girl would have had as much curiosity and be given as much freedom to explore on her own as the author had Wendy doing. Some of the wanderings were crucial to the telling of the story (so I get why she had the character do the things she did), but I doubt she'd have been given that much freedom. But, then again, it has been 27 years since I was 13, so maybe times have changed a bit?

In closing, I leave these words with you...they are not the authors word, but instead words written by another well known teen who suffered through tragic times and yet remained optimistic and hopeful, Anne Frank, 1944
  • It's difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise
    within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It's a wonder I haven't abandoned
    all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them, because
    I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart

Friday, April 14, 2006

It has indeed been a GOOD FRIDAY...

I am certain that my conservative Lutheran relatives would be shaking their head in disappointment had they been hanging around today. Thinking, surely now that she is back to attending church routinely, she'll observe Good Friday in the way she was raised up. Sorry folks...

Although we violated numerous Good Friday traditions, I have to say, today has indeed been a very good Friday. I gathered up my usual posse of pals, and had the kids over for an Easter Egg Hunt after school. While the kids opened their little plastic eggs, us mommies started up on the Margaritas. We feasted on tacos and when the designated drivers arrived (also known as spouses), we decided we weren't ready to call it a out came the poker chips and more adult beverages. The kids played so nice together, while the dads tried to fund their children's college tuition savings plans ( note to Things: I hope your dream is to attend the trade school up the streeet, because Daddy isn't so good at Texas Hold Em!).

And yet, when I reflect back on today, I don't feel any sort of the Lutheran/Catholic guilt that I should considering all the faux pas committed. I instead see a life blessed by God: He's given me a loving family and a circle of friends that fills me with more joy and happiness than I think I deserve!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Blogging Blahs...

I've not feeling particularly witty this week. I'm not sure why.

Let see, what could it be? Maybe I'm still dealing with the news that the accountant delivered last week. We don't owe as much as last year but we still owe some. But then again, that can't be it: because we pay pretty much every year and had the money set aside, just waiting to be sent in.

Well then,perhaps, I'm still bothered by the Great Flood of '06 that happened on Saturday? The basement toilet broke and was gushing water everywhere. Thing One happened to be in the basement at the time, walked through soggy carpet (soaked, drenched, toilet still actively gushing), and went outside to ride bikes, never pausing to tell either adult "hey, the basement is flooding." I discovered it probably after an hour into the incident. Oh but wait, we got over that...and thanks to Hubby's hard work, it looks like everything will dry without further incident. Being at the garden level helped air things out and the air out here is so dry, you don't fret too much about "damp basements". I was more perplexed by the action (or inaction) of Thing One. Oh well, just that friendly reminder that his diagnosis is correct. He's not always going to respond to life events in the ways we think he should. (for readers not all that familiar with the formal name for his quirks, he's on the Autism Spectrum)

Then, maybe it is the inspection that the prospective buyers completed and their laundry list of requests, demands, whatever you want to call it. Nope, we agreed, along with our realtor, that the house was priced to reflect these concerns so take it or leave it. Only two of the issues were valid (and thus we are willing to correct). The rest I think are an attempt to get us to fund their plans for a "fix and flip". Sorry, that's why the house is priced considerably lower than market value/appraised value. It is a "bring your paint brush and hammer" deal. Take it or leave it.

So, gee...I just don't know where my blogging enthusiasm has gone to? I'm thinking I'm using it all up trying to see the bright side of life's more recent challenges. Tune in later when I will try to be more humorous...and well, even if that fails, I'm half way through a REALLY good book, so I should have another review up by the end of the week!

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Glory Cloak

On errand day, I try to include a stop at our local library. I treat it as my reward for completing the chores of the week. The library is only a couple years old and is a wonderful place to just go and wander around. This latest book that I read, I found sitting out on a display unit. I don't even remember what the theme of the display was but, the cover and title caught my eye so I picked it up and checked it out. I'm so glad that I did...for this was a wonderful book I might not have ever discovered, had it not been for that display of books.

The Glory Cloak, by Patricia O'Brien, is a historical fiction story involving Louisa May Alcott and Clara Barton. The story itself is narrated by a fictional character, Susan Gray, who in this tale is a younger cousin to the famed author of Little Women. They travel together to Washington DC to work as nurses during the Civil War. It is here that they meet up with Ms. Barton, the "Angel of the Battlefield" and the story begins to take off. The timeline for the story is from the 1850s- to the late 1880s and the author weaves in elements of history while creating a fictional story involving the friendship between Ms. Alcott and her cousin, Susan.

I really enjoyed this book. It took me a bit of time to adjust to the language and style of the book. I'm used to reading books set in the present so this is a common problem I encounter when I change gears and read a book set in a different era. I especially liked learning more about the works of Clara Barton. I'd heard about her: either in nursing school (yes, we had to take such exciting classes as the history of nursing!) or in the military (where again, we had to listen to seminars on the History of the Army nurse). She truly was a remarkable woman: tending to the needs of the injured while also pushing the government to improve the ways in which they notified the families of the status of the wounded soldiers. I also liked how the author added some insight into who Louisa May Alcott was and how the stories she wrote related to her own upbringing and life. My only complaint to the story would be the age difference between the narrator and Louisa May Alcott. She was 10 years younger than Miss Alcott. Yes, I have friends 10 years older and 10 years younger than me and we get along great. But, I doubt we would have been "childhood pals" given this age difference. I'm not sure why the author created such a wide age gap. She could have achieved a similar story while having the cousin be closer in age.

As with any good book, it left me wanting to learn more. Read more. And so off I do just that (not to mention, Thing One is begging for his chance at the computer and I've got other things to do beside read and blog!)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Happy Birthday Audrey!

I've struggled with what to post to mark what would have been Mom's 69th birthday today. (she's the little one sitting next to her big sis, Phyllis). I've typed and deleted several times over. What I write is either too sappy or too sassy. Mom would not have approved of either approach. So, instead, I looked to my good pal Google for some help. When in doubt, Google! Certainely someone else has already come up with just the right thing to say on a day when you want to remember the past but celebrate the present. And sure enough, someone else had managed to come up with just the right words to express my feelings.

So, I share with you these words, written by someone else. I hope that anyone who reads this, will take a moment to think some nice thoughts about your own mom. For as Maya Angelous once said in an Oprah interview, regardless of your relationship with your parent, you will miss them when they are gone from your life. I know I still miss my mom, some 18 years after she lost her battle with breast cancer.

I still Miss my Mom very much
If possible, now even more than ever
As I finally begin to understand
What it means to have lost her so young.
And suddenly, I"m not so afraid anymore
to let myself think and talk about her,
To take that look in the mirror
and see her face smiling back at me,
to connect with her, talk to her,
be reminded of her love for me, her daughter.
I'm not so afraid anymore
to ask questions about my mom,
her life, her goals, her dreams,
what she wanted for her kids,
If she would have been proud of me.
I'm not so afriad anymore
to share my thoughts with you,
And to admit that in my heart I'll always be
the little girl who desperately wants her mommy back!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Thing One in living color

Thing One is a bit like his mother, his maternal grandmother and heck, even his maternal great-grandmother. We have (or had, sadly the grandmothers are no longer living)issues with having our photo taken. He didn't use to be so camera reluctant. But, I am finding as he gets older he sighs whenever I bring out the camera. And, well I can sort of see why. Of the many photos I take of him, most end up getting deleted. His eyes are half closed, or they have that wide open stare in a very forced attempt NOT to close them. If there is a smile, it is often one that looks so forced it reflects pain not joy. Unfortunately, I fear he comes by these photo-sensitive issues genetically. But, thanks to my perpetual photo taking nature and with help from digital technology, every so often I manage to snap a blog worthy photo.

Such was the case on Saturday. He was truly happy. Playing outside with his pals. Riding bikes and just being a kid. I ran to grab my camera and before he even spotted me, I started snapping away. And voila, I present to you...
a smiling, eyes open, content with the world Thing one!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

If he hears it, chances are he'll repeat it...

I need to remind myself of this fact just about every day! With Thing One, we got a bit spoiled. He never was much of an eavesdropper. Might have been his nature, might be partly due to his issues, but whatever the reason, I admit, we were spoiled and are sometimes careless in what we say around the kids. They couldn't POSSIBLY be paying attention, right?

WRONG: Thing Two is the master eavesdropper. Yeah Yeah Yeah, I hear you, that apple fell right from THIS tree. I know. But, now I must deal with the consequences.

At least today's event was a funny one. I lucked out. A couple weeks ago, we'd gone to BK for lunch. We'd requested his usual "Plain Cheeseburger". There seemed to be some sort of language barrier between hubby and the person taking the order (suffice to say INS probably doesn't frequent this BK lounge). Anyways, the cheeseburger arrived FULLY loaded. In the grumbling interchange between us adults, we mentioned the woman's limited command of English. Didn't think Thing Two was listening, why would he? He had his food. Why would he be bothered by our ranting about how you can't even order a cheeseburger from Consuela and expect to get it right.

Today, we return to the SAME BK establishment and again request the plain cheeseburger. It arrives: PLAIN, just as we ordered. Thing Two says loudly "Wow Mom, someone was speaking English today!". I just about died of embarrassment...but what happened next saved the day...

Thing One said "Oh, EVERYONE speaks English here."
Thing Two: "Nope, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they speak British!"

Heavy Sigh....and there you have it: next time Consuela messes up your order at BK, remember to blame it on being British!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Spring Forward!

It is Spring Break here at the House of Chang. Long anticipated and anxiously awaited by at least 3 out of the 4 members in our family. We've got nothing special planned and hope to take all week to enjoy this fact. Too often our schedules get filled with so many places to go and things to do, that it will be a welcome change to look at the boys and say "what would you like to do today?"

And not only is it Spring Break on the calendar, but looking out my new kitchen window, each day I am greeted by yet another garden surprise. You have to realize that although I am a Martha, I have the brownest thumb out there when it comes to cultivating and nuturing plant life. My hope is that I can just sustain the plants and flowers that our previous owners so lovingly put together. I've enlisted the help of a good friend who although works as a stay at home mom these days, has a bachelor's degree in botany. She assures me I can manage the level of gardening involved. And just in case, she's promised to stop by every so often and make sure I'm doing things right.

But, I'm not making any promises. Instead, I'm trying to take lots of pictures. Who knows, this might be the only Spring where I get to enjoy these flowers because I'll mistake them for weeds and pull them out after they have finished blooming! So, sit back...and enjoy the beauty of Spring. I know I am sure will this week....

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Under Contract!

Wahoo! Our realtor called last night and said he'd be bringing a contract by for us to take a look at. It is a fair contract and so we signed off on it. We just made a few minor counters: nothing related to price but rather just tweaking the language and moving up the closing date by a couple weeks. It should go through without any major problems.

If you would be so kind as to cross your fingers and say a little prayer that the inspector doesn't find anything that is too costly or a total deal breaker and we'll be all set.

I'm just thrilled at the thought of having that house unloaded so that I won't be mowing for two this Spring!