* Missouri is gorgeous. We definitely want to move there.
* The house we originally went to see was somewhat misrepresented. It looks like there's just way too much work needing to be done to make it worth the asking price, and the owner is apparently not as willing to negotiate as she said she was over the phone. We came away from that feeling very sad.
* We came back through and visited three more properties on the way home. One is seriously under consideration, although both the neighborhood and the entire town were awfully littered with trash. I mean debris piles abandoned everywhere and the woods appear to be a favorite trash can for pop bottles and old tires – and worse things at one of the homes. Josh would really like to live in the one nice house we found (10 acre, 3 bd, 2 ba permanent MH with additions), but I'm not sure I can get past the massive trashiness of the general area.
* We will probably be looking online for more Missouri properties and planning another (better prepared) trip out there for viewings.
* So looks like I'll have to up my housing budget if we want any kind of good home. That sucks, because I need money for other things like fixing our teeth and the trailer we do have.
* Grandma seemed much better after we arrived. As Josh put it, she got her rosiness back and a bounce in her step. He's agreed to let me look for a cheap fixer-upper in her area of IL, so I can have a place to go stay closer to her more often.
* She is getting much worse with her memory, which saddens me. Grandma was always so sharp. She still is, to an extent. I don't mind hearing the same stories several times in a row. She has awesome stories.
* Grandma finally admitted that she thinks she had a mild stroke while she was down here while mom died. She described what happened to her, and it broke my heart. I am praying that she recovers better. I'm really afraid of what happens if her memory worsens instead of improves.
* She can tell you anything that happened fifty years ago or more, though. Twice, she told us about some lady who pissed her off sixty-five years ago, and I finally understand where I got my temper from.
* I will never attempt another vacation with my sister. It was actually one of the worst vacations we've ever had, until she went bat-shit for no good reason and caught a plane home. Things immediately improved for us. That makes me sad. She didn't even show any gratitude for any of the stuff we went out of the way to do so she could come. She just bitched and was disrespectful to all of us the whole time. We probably won't be speaking for a while, to be honest.
* On the plus side, my other sister had her offer on a house accepted during the week! She's waiting for the inspection to go through, and then she should be closing early next month. She'll be in Wilmington, but she's always wanted to live at the beach and so I'm happy for her. She's still not happy for me and Missouri, but oh well.
* Babyface, the new outside cat, had her kittens while we were gone. Josh will have to find them. We think they're up under the shed, which means that it'll need to be emptied out and somehow jacked up so he can get to them before they go feral. On the plus side, now that I have some cash, I'll be able to get Babyface fixed just as soon as allowed after having her litter.
* Bikers in Illinois do not wear helmets. It scares me to no end. I kept getting flashbacks of poor Momma's head. Even if I lived there, I would never travel seventy miles an hour with no helmet. I was seriously so scared the whole time, and they were everywhere.
* Some asshole at the knife store (Davis Specialties, I think) in Clinton, Iowa had the nerve to call me a bad mother – directed at Eden! They had each taken one of his lollipops and we were fixing to go eat lunch next door, so I told them they couldn't have a second. He gave one to Ivy behind my back, and I saw her opening one and took it away. She started crying, so I led her out the door, since that's what I do when my kids start pitching a fit in public. As I was heading out, I heard him say, “She's a bad momma, huh?” or something like that (might have been “isn't she?”) I yelled, “Excuse me?” and then hollered for Josh to get Eden, as I would have gone on a rampage and unplugged his oxygen tank and thrown it in his face. Josh didn't buy anything, and he'd been wanting to go back to that store since we found it two years ago.
* Lyz then started shit with me for actually getting upset about that, so then she and I got into a fight. A few days later, Josh convinced me to go back to that store and promised that he would defend my honor and give that guy a stern talking to. He ended up spending 45 minutes browsing and then telling dude on the way out that his wife was mad about what he'd said the other day (without even mentioning what that was, by the way). This caused an enormous fight between us. I still haven't forgiven him, and likely never will. This makes three or four times that someone has seriously insulted me and Josh never defends me.
* My kids, who had been having some behavioral problems in the weeks leading up to the trip, only got worse on the trip. They don't listen for shit anymore. Things did improve though once Lyz left and we didn't have her constant bitching and passive-aggressive whining egging them on. They're both still getting physically violent, though. Two nights in a row I grounded them and we didn't get to swim in the pool they made me shell out for.
* This means I don't want to take anymore family vacations for a very long time. So we'll have to find a babysitter for several days if Josh and I want to go look at more properties. It's hard concentrating on the houses when I'm having to corral the kids and keep them acting half-way decent.
* There were other issues that I may address in a friends-locked post. This was seriously not our best vacation ever, but Grandma asked me to hurry and I went straight there as soon as I could. I don't regret it. Visiting my family really helped recenter me and allowed me to regroup a little bit in ways that I haven't been able to since my mommy was here. I really need to be closer to them. Even when it's bad, being with them so helps my sanity. Grandma means the world to me, and my cousin Cole has been one of my best friends forever. My aunts and uncles are legion and the coolest.