Back and Better than Ever?

I haven’t been around in a while because we unexpectedly bought a house.

It’s a really wonderful, one-owner mid-century modern built in 1964.

It wants to be loved on, and K-Pants and Baby Woww are ready to love on it.

Normally I bounce back from a move pretty well, and then it’s back to life, back to writing, back to adventures around PDX with the Chaos Team.

I’ve moved 14 times in the last ten years to various states and with varying numbers of kids, so–not to brag or anything–I’m pretty good at moving.

But this time was different.

My kids got hand-foot-mouth virus, my grandpa died, and my husband went away on business the week we were moving.

I don’t list these calamities to make you write heartwarming comments at the bottom of the blog–hint, hint–I mean my husband took the day off recently to do laundry and handle furnace and water heater maintenance, so really you shouldn’t feel sorry for me at all.

However, with two kids, illness, death, and mortgage paperwork, I was a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Many of you out there can relate, because I know you’ve been dealing with illnesses, Ph.D. dissertations, under-employment, anxiety, depression, moves, and the joy and strain of young children or old children or hoping for children.

Personally, I was only pulled back from the brink of bittersweet insanity by the support of friends and family. I fell out the metaphorical window a lot of times in the last two months, and each time there was someone wonderful there shoving a trampoline under my fall.

And I must mention them by name. Because when God or Santa is going through the naughty-or-nice list at the day of judgement, these folks need an extra butterscotch candy and a an early boarding pass.


Hannah and Josh made our house their service project–pulling ivy out of the garage, and generally chainsawing any shrubbery that was trying to live inside the house. Then Hannah delivered homemade strawberry pie.

Jamie made us a delicious curry chicken pot pie with the letters “H,” “F”, and “M” for hand-foot-mouth emblazoned in pie crust cut-outs over the top. I think she’s still laughing about this. She also made a train cake and cupcakes for K-Pant’s third birthday, which saved the prince’s family parties.

Cindy found us a car-seat-friendly stroller to borrow from Jessica (who let me take her stroller on a plane–that’s generosity!), when I couldn’t handle even writing an email. Because of that I could travel carry-on with Baby Woww down to LA for my grandpa’s memorial service.

Emily brought us some killer pork chili with a dozen fixings and homemade cornbread and applesauce. Emily’s going to start thinking that I move so often just so that she’ll cook for me again.

Rebecca made what is commonly known as banana bread but can really only be called sliceable carmelized banana heaven. And she paired it with chocolate, wine, and an amazing dinner.

Kylan dropped off the most delicious mini pasta shells with marinara sauce, and the leftovers kept the kids fed for days.

My dad and sister Hillary painted bedrooms with me and watched our kids. And the rest of our family helped out whenever and however they could.

Wendy brought over bagels and watched my kids (with her son in tow) while I organized the house and continued my love affair with The Home Depot.

Sarah made us a huge salad from her garden that she dropped of with fresh pasta and romesco sauce. Yum! That salad fed me for days.

Tim and Brian and Josh and our new neighbor Ben hauled our furniture into the new house at a moment’s notice.

And then there’s Chee Chee.

My dear friend Lauren–known around our house as Chee Chee–allowed herself to be flown in to the eye of the storm. Strangely, she says yes to everything I ask. Someday I will repay her with raspberry chocolates, Gruyère grilled cheese, carmelized onions, and rosé wine for life.

Chee Chee painted and cleaned and moved boxes and played with the kids and then–while I was in Los Angeles–she coordinated moving day with my husband, and put together K-Pants’s new room.

 And all that seems like an orange creamsicle in comparison to what she did next–helping me clean our rental house top to bottom.

Cleaning your old abode is a thankless task–everything is gone except the dust and grime, and there’s no excitement or newness or the promise of future adventure.

But she did it.

I think some people go a lifetime without finding a friend like this. The guest room is dedicated to her–as it better be since she shellacked the damn thing–because she has a place in our family forever.


To all my friends and family and readers far and near, thanks for being here. It’s nice to be back. Hope to see you soon!

12 responses to “Back and Better than Ever?

  1. Wow! I gotta see this house… conveniently I will be in Oregon soon (did you get my fb message?) If you have any preservation/conservation projects, feel free to save them for me! 😉

    • I was hiding under a rock for the past six weeks, so I’m going over now to see what kind of crazy architectural rave you’ll be up here for. Hurrah!! 🙂

  2. Glad to help! Congrats on the new house!

  3. Yay! Congrats on the house. Sorry you had so much chaos going on. I was thinking about you and wondering if all was ok… You know where to find me when you need a cocktail!

  4. Great post and I can relate to all but the PhD bit…Does the B.A. bit count? LOL! I’ve been in 16 states. Moving was part of 10 of them and it was always total chaos–and some of it I had to deal with alone because of various types of military bull! If I lived closer to you, I’d have tossed Frankenboot off of my foot and helped clean too if asked! I have to wear him for 3 more weeks and he’s driving me NUTS! I even call him names which I won’t repeat! I got to have a tropical sunrise margarita the other night. Good stuff!

  5. simcha mama. greenapplefam.

    oh my goodness you’ve been so super busy lately. sorry to hear about your grandpa and kids with the hand & mouth illness. looking forward to seeing your new place:) xoxo.

  6. Vacation? So glad you are back to adventuring/writing/Chaos Team. If you even need more chainsawing, I think it was more fun than work for Josh. Sweet post. Yay for Lauren!

  7. Holy moly, girl. Glad you’re back from the brink!

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