23 February 2009

Time Management

I always get a little bit annoyed when people say they are too busy to do something. For the most part, I believe that if you want or need to do something, you will make the time for it to happen.

I'm starting to revise my stance on this.

The past week has been INSANE. One week ago today, CV and I were congratulating ourselves on getting all three kids to bed in an efficient and timely manner, and I was unpacking a minimum of stuff before collapsing into bed in a sniffling, snotty heap after a long, busy day of lugging stuff down my two flights of stairs and up the matching two at CV's. Just one week ago. That's all. Seven days.

It already feels like a lifetime ago. I've been back to the condo almost every day since, picking up last-minute items or putting things out on the porch for Freecyclers to pick up. When I walk into what Maddie, Riley, and I call "the old house," I either feel no emotions at all or a rush of negativity. All I can see when I'm there is what I have left to do before the first open house this weekend, and all I remember is the bad. I'm sure some of this is self-protection. I've made a decision to move on, and my mind is wise enough to make sure I think my decision is the right one. But m0re than that, I think it's sign that my decision is the right one. It's telling that the only time in the past week that I've really lost my shit with the kids was back at the old house. Sure, the kids were underfoot as I was trying to accomplish some last-minute packing, but the anger I felt and the negativity I spewed was disproportionate to the situation, and I'm sure a product of the setting.

We've settled into an easy, if hectic, routine here at CV's. All three kids are doing amazingly well with the transition. They are sharing a room with mimimal issues and, in fact, some benefits. CV's daughter, N, seems to enjoy the company in the morning and, rather than screaming for CV upon waking, is content to chat with Maddie and Riley for a while before getting up. The kids seem happy for either CV or me or both of us to come get them up in the morning, allowing one of us to shower or make breakfast or whatever while the other pulls kids out of cribs. Bedtime has been equally pain-free; we all pile into my bed for stories, and then the kids get tucked in, songs are sung, and sleeping ensues. OK, sleeping ensues after a few reminders to pipe down. But still. There have been a few night wakings, but Maddie and Riley both have pretty wicked coughs, and I think the wakings have more to do with that and less to do with having three kids in one room.

We do laundry constantly. We run the dishwasher almost every day. It's going to be a good while before all of my boxes are unpacked and all of my stuff finds a home. I need to repaint my room. There's plenty of work still to be done. But I feel so comfortable, and Maddie and Riley clearly do, too. They have never asked to go back to the old house, and fully expect that we'll be headed to CV and N's after school. When Maddie, Riley, and I arrive home before the others, they are clealry disappointed that we're the only ones home. Maddie has been wearing N's clothes some days. They have hilarious converstaions when they wake up in the morning: "You yell 'Mama.' NO! Not like that! LOUDER!" It's a little crazy, but a good kind of crazy.

After months of being bored during the day at work, I'm now flat-out, with more to do than one person can realistically accomplish, but not enough overflow to justify hiring a temp or another employee. Murphy's Law that the timing would work out that way, but so be it. At least I have some job security.

I confess to having underestimated the amount of time it takes to get a house ready to put on the market. I really like my agent, and he's been very supportive and understanding. But you know how it is when you pack up a house. The first three-quarters of the packing goes great. The last quarter? Disaster. Stuff starts breeding like rabbits when you're not looking. You run out of boxes that are just the right size. You run out of boxes period. You can't decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Your stuff multiplies again. You seal the box of summer clothes, lug it to the basement, then find a pair of shorts. Sigh.

As if that weren't bad enough, I met with a professional house stager on Friday. Oh, boy, was that torture akin to getting my nails pulled out one by one with rusty pliers. The stager was just doing her job, but I was overwhelmed by the cumulative stress of a busy week at work and the realization of just how much remained for me to do. And while yes, the stager was just doing her job, she could have been a little more . . . tactful. Is it really necessary to say, "That kitchen rug has to go. I mean, if it were a nice rug, OK. But not that." A simple, "I don't think you need to leave that rug" would suffice, thank you.

I'm taking a half day off tomorrow to deal with the last-minute clean out before the photographer arrives on Wednesday to take pictures to post on the Internet listings in anticipation of the first open house this coming weekend. A price has been determined. I'm so ready for this to be done. I would love, love, love to get a reasonable offer this weekend and just put this all behind me. Keep your fingers crossed.


Crash Course Widow said...

I'd love for you to get an offer this weekend to...but...(and I say this with all the gentle, I've-been-there-done-that-thought/hoped-that-too love in the world)...also be prepared for it not happening. Houses almost never sell at an open house. None of mine ever have. And I also say it not to burst your happiness bubble (or what little grasp of okayness you're holding onto during this crap, busy week)...but also as one widow to another, to gently prepare you when things start to sour. Everyone's different, of course, and one widow's experience of it isn't the same as another's...but between two house sales as a widow...just be careful with yourself, and try not to get too far ahead of what's happening. And don't be surprised if you're riding waves of emotions--even if you don't think it's outright grief--and a roller coaster of stress before it's all said and done. It's harder to sell a house in this market than I thought (and I even thought I was going into it with my eyes and mind wide open to just how bad it was) and it's harder to survive it as a widow with small kids, and ESPECIALLY when it's such a conflicted marital task.

But, that said, I'm so excited for you!! And absolutely, yes, miracles can happen. Hell, I got one...sort of. Not the type of sale or situation I would have hoped for a year ago as I started cooking up this plan, but at least I CAN offer a success story: my house did actually sell. I just had to let go of any preconceived, preapproved "price" (both literally and figuratively) to get there.

I'm keeping all my fingers and toes crossed, and praying to God, Allah, Buddha, and all the stars in the sky that the next months go as easily and smoothly as possible before the condo sells. Many, many hugs and good hopes are coming your way from Anna and me.

(And what IS it with this week? I'm having a shit, stressful week too. Is there a wicked full moon or something, or is it "just" house stress? I move out tomorrow; the sale's supposed to close sometime this week (but it keeps slipping...sigh.))


Lindsay said...

Good Luck with all that you have going on.... your plate is full.

MDT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Supa Dupa Fresh said...

Trivial: it was someone's comment that I would "make time for what was important" that set me off to date, to prove it.

True: You feel good. I'm happy for you! Sounds like a ball for the shorties. Yay.

Big economics: the last two weeks have everyone acting like total whackos, plus sad angry whackos. But don't we think the economy has something to do with it?

Little economics: If you like, I can convince you that given the laws of microeconomics (so common sense that no one understands them) you will actually not be worse off by selling your place "low" ish. But facts are no fun when you have a lot going on. Some other time!


Giovanna Diaries said...

Sounds like Maddie & Riley love their new place. You know the boys (especially A-man) have been talking alot about Riley lately. "Remember when Riley wouldn't nap?"

Keen said...

My fingers are crossed for you! I'm pretty amazed that you've been able to accomplish so much so quickly, house-wise.

Glad things are going smoothly at the new place! Hope things get less crazy for you soon, and that you're feeling better.

Rachel said...

I am rooting for you to sell your house quickly.

I'm happy things are going so well at the new place. It sounds like a great solution for both of you.

Roads said...

Six top tips for selling houses:

1) The smell of roasting coffee beans.

2) The scent of freshly baked bread.

3) Leave all the windows open and the lights switched on.

4) A crate of cold beer, endless cups of tea and plenty of chairs for people to rest their weary legs. If they sit down, they might buy.

5) Get them talking. As above.

6) A bottle of merlot waiting for the end of the day.

Good luck!

Donn24g said...

I am SO happy to hear things are working out so well! I will keep my fingers crossed for you:)

Carolina Girl said...

My mom sold our house and moved into a small townhouse (us kids were either college-aged or close to) 3 years after my dad died. She really blossomed after that and was able to move past her grief. I hope this brings the same experience. As the mom of a toddler, the extra pair of hands has got to be a huge help. Thinking about you and hoping this is a great leaf that you're turning over.

Pam said...

I am glad things are going so well for you. Sounds like this was the change you and the twins needed. Best of luck selling your condo.

Things have been really stressful/busy for me at work too. I'm with you though, I am looking at it as job security.


What A Card said...

Wow, we're on exactly the same schedule! We have pictures scheduled for tomorrow, first open house this weekend! Good luck to you...this is a stressful project! I hope your house sells quickly!

On the plus side, at least in the towns I've been paying attention to (which doesn't include your town, but I'd guess it's true for much of this area), there haven't been a ton of houses coming on the market, so when good houses do pop up that are priced well, they're selling in weeks.

I know you're not looking to buy so I didn't know how much attention you've been paying to other home sales in the area. It's been a little depressing in fact because while we're not ready to buy yet (obviously, since our house isn't even listed), I've watched all the houses I was interested in come on the market then go under agreement. Aside from the obvious stress of selling, I'm feeling even more pressure on the buying side that there's not much out there! I'm hoping this translates to lots of people waiting around for great houses like yours and mine to come on the market :)

It sounds like everything is going well in the new house...I'm so excited for you guys...it sounds really great!

Susan said...

Phew....just a few things going on ;) I hope you sell quickly!! Everything else is falling into place why not a quick sale?! Keep us posted.

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

My sister-in-law describes your packing problems as the 80/20 rule. For the first 80%, everything is done with care and attention to detail. By the last 20% you just want to get it done so you say "Ah... f*ck it!" and throw your "system" out the window. All my home improvement projects have ended this way.

Glad to hear the kiddies are all doing so well in one room. That will be our future arrangement when the twins arrive.

Good luck with the condo! Hope it goes quickly!

django's mommy said...

You're my hero- keep on keepin' on, Snick. Sending lots of virtual moving boxes northward.

Julia said...

Oh, my... Sounds like you need a stiff latte with your drinks. And seconds or thirds of the whole thing. (and, you know, I can offer you some of both. wink.)

I know that packing problem, and we only ever moved from an apartment. Never had to sell a house before, and I am SO not looking forward.

Here's hoping all your hard work and all the putting up with the nasty stager pays off, and pronto.

L. said...

Roads makes a worthwhile point! That "mood" stuff does help. We looked at one house on an unbelievably oppressive, muggy day... the owners were there, and while we were looking, they pulled a bottle of chilled white wine out of the fridge and two glasses out of the freezer and went down to their yard to drink it. What I would have given to partake. Okay, we didn't buy the place, but that memory of longing is one of the strongest I have of house-buying.

Your description of the last quarter of moving is all-too-familiar. I wish you the best this weekend and ahead. And I am so glad that all of you are so comfortable in your new digs.

silene said...

Best of luck to you with the rest of the packing, and of course this weekend.

ErinInFL said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. It IS possible to sell fast, even in this market. We recently relocated from CT to FL. We put our house on the market on a Tuesday and had the first offer from our buyer that Friday. We haggled over the weekend and my the following Tuesday, the deal was done. This was right around Christmas, the time they say is the worst to sell.

It does sound like you are making the right decisions it would seem the kids argree. Good luck!

Katherine said...

Welcome back! I have missed your updates. Selling a house is a pain in the butt, even in good times. I am very impressed that you have done all you've done already to get the sales process started. What a great idea to move BEFORE putting the condo on the market. If you're overwhelmed now thinking about getting it ready for would-be buyers to view, think about how much harder it would be with the three of you still living there!

I am envying your new living situation. Good for you for making it happen. As a fellow widow, I would LOVE to have another adult at home. My kids are older, 10 & 14, and though the teen sometimes ACTS like a toddler, it's not nearly as entertaining when he does it. An ADULT to talk with at night, in person, would be NIRVANA.

You are moving on and making some hard, but GREAT, decisions. Keeping my fingers crossed for a QUICK SALE!!

OTRgirl said...

Whew! That's a LOT to be dealing with. I've been a wimp each time we've moved and stopped working just to have enough time and brain space for the packing (and unpacking at the other end). I can't imagine doing all that AND work AND kids. It sounds like you're balancing it all amazingly well.

When we sold our house in Baltimore, we could have gone higher, but really just wanted to get it done as soon as possible. Staging and cleaning didn't sound like a fun way to spend our last summer. We priced to sell and got an offer from the first open house. I hope the same for you!

Cynthia said...

I hope your condo sells quickly. I love the stories from your new abode. My best thoughts are with you and your little ones.

susan said...

Best wishes with the condo sale--selling a house is one of the most stressful things I"ve ever done. You will eventually settle into the routine of showings and whatnot, but it sure can suck getting there.

I'm glad the interpersonal side of the move has gone well, with the kids being so flexible. That's awesome!

Watercolor said...

good luck!

The Preschool Teacher said...

Good luck! I''m happy to hear that your move has gone so smoothly. On the moving in end of course. lol

Single Parent Dad said...

I am glad your transition to CV's is going well, and all the children are enjoying it.

I am also not a big fan of the 'too busy' rebuff, as it isn't actually accurate. The correct answer is I have other priorities that trump your request for the foreseeable future, see, rolls right off the tongue.

buddha_girl said...

Here's to an offer unexpectedly falling into your lap as soon as possible.

Like you, I think it's quite telling that you lost your shit while in the condo. There's so much heavy history there - I don't think you could walk in and NOT feel it.

Here's to new adventures!

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

I love Dave Barry's description of packing. The first half goes nicely, everything is in the right box with padding, well labeled. Then there is a flurry of activity and things are thrown everywhere. When you get to the new house, you open a box and find your goldfish loosely wrapped in newspaper.

Mr. Fresh brings this up to me all the time as I slowly deaccession from my massive packrat nest of beloved things.

marty said...

Good luck with house! I really hope it sells quickly. Glad the new arrangement is working out. :)

winecat said...

Keeping fingers crossed someone will fall in love with the house and make you a full all cash offer. I'm not saying this is realistic I'm just saying it's what I'm wishing for you.