I really thought I'd win though.
At any rate, moving has also been slower than expected. Everything takes way more time and money than we'd anticipated! I've moved a lot in my life, probably more than the normal person. I reckon I've moved at least twenty times in as many years, maybe more. These last eight years in Leicester have been the longest I've ever spent in any one place. I've moved states, but usually I was only in charge of my room. The only time I ever moved states on my own was from Tennessee to North Carolina, and at least then, I was moving in with Josh and his then-girlfriend in an established home.
Being a real-life homeowner is different.
Time and money is the hardest. Josh is the fastest worker you're ever likely to meet, not counting those on coke or speed, and yet we are still puttering along way slower than expected. If not for the bit of money we got from mom, I now know for a fact that it would have been another good ten or twenty years before we ever escaped our little valley in NC. I expected stuff like inspections, home warranties, turning lights on, etc., and that was budgeted into our home buying budget. To an extent, I expected the other expenses, but not on this scale and they were definitely not budgeted. We've probably spent a good ten thousand above and beyond what we thought “buying a house” would cost, though a big chunk of that is moving truck rental and gas back and forth.
The electricity co-op humped us, since the last few months that the other people were here, their power bill jumped from about $80 to over $200. The co-op had to charge twice their monthly bill for our deposit, so that's almost $500 right there, and I'm still paying electricity, cable/internet, mortgage, & lot rent on the other trailer. Whee there, right? (Those should be canceled by the end of the month, if we get back to finish cleaning in time.) In addition to extra cleaning supplies, things to fix leaky sinks & showers, change of doorknobs for every door, etc., we've also had to invest in homeownery-type tools. We bought two chainsaws so we can work on clearing our land together. There's quite a bit to clear out. We bought a pressure washer, which we'll definitely need for cleaning out those old buildings. Josh got a drill, air compressor and nail gun, and various other tools that I'm not quite sure what they're for but Josh swears they've already come in handy.
Time is the other big one. Well, we live a good hour from any sort of Lowe's/Home Depot/Walmart, so when we realize we need something, it's like a half day excursion between shopping time and driving at least two hours to get there and back. Josh's jeep has only plastic in the back windshield, and I think it actually started snowing last night. Very cold business. We have not accomplished anything that we thought would be finished by now.
We tried to get back Saturday (Nov. 28). We made it here more around 1 pm (Central time, not Eastern) Sunday, and that was after driving through the whole night. Unloading the jeep took a chunk of time, and we fed Bo, our new dog that we inherited with the house. He wasn't starving, I'm pleased to say, even though we were held up about 48 more hours than we expected. Then we totally crashed at about six pm.
Instead of getting the house into perfect order, as I thought we'd come in doing, we had to make the long drive into Fredericktown Monday. I had insisted on the sellers putting down a thousand dollar deposit, since we had to wait 30 days for possession after we had bought the house, and we're unfamiliar with such things in NC. We were just too far away to feel completely comfortable handing over all of our money and just waiting. I'm glad we did it, but we had to drive to the realtor's office to sign off so they could get their money back, and then we had to hit Lowes and Walmart while we were in town. I needed a new mop and broom, because we hadn't had room to bring ours. We left it in NC for our next big cleaning trip. I had to buy more dishrags, since mine were all old and gross and used as cleaning rags in the old house. Etc., etc. Got home real late, after buying a pizza since all our kitchen stuff was still packed.
Tuesday and Wednesday, the first days of December, were a lot more productive with cleaning and setting up the house, but it takes so damned long! I worked half a day and only got the top cupboards above the sink clean. Oh my God, for a house that looks so much better than ours, it is SO grungy! I at least shine my sink before I do dishes, and clean my tub before we bathe. How can you clean yourself and your dishes in disgusting tubs? Do they even get clean that way? Flybabies might understand. This sink has never been shined, and I scrubbed the hell out of it. It's as shiny as I can get it, but there's still streaks of something stained down the sides. I don't even think they'd ever wiped the outside of the cupboards, especially around the handles, or the whole disgusting cupboard over the stove. Light switches or outlets, either. I've used innumerable scotchbrite scrubbies and nearly a whole bottle of Greased Lightning just trying to clean the dust and dried gunk off of the cupboards. Thank God that Josh is handling the bathrooms (I love my husband).
Speaking of bathrooms, we had leaks in both, so we knew that Josh would have to come in and fix the showers before any of us could bathe. He's finally got the gunk cleaned from our shower and garden tub, which he swears was grosser than the kitchen gunk, though I'm almost skeptical, that's how bad the kitchen was. I think some things might just be permanently stained, and we'll have to try to replace them if we ever start making money. At any rate, he swears that they're as clean as humanly possible, and he's got the leak fixed but now has to put on a new shower head because we didn't notice how gross the old one was. So not using that. We're all going to get to bathe again today, and even the kids are super-excited about that. They can't wait to try out the garden tub.
When we saw the trash pile they had out back (which they did remove, huzzah) and the half-assed way the additions had been done, we kind of knew that we'd be putting in some work. That's okay. Josh likes fixing things up, but it sucks when they just let a leak go that Josh was able to fix in two and a half hours, including caulk-drying time, or putting in a door so crappily that the insulation needs to be cut out from around it in order to open it. They didn't bother moving their many coat racks when they painted, so when Josh moved the one in Eden's room down so she could reach it, it had the old wallpaper beneath it. That's so lazy it's funny. We look forward to painting it our own way anyway, so that's not so bad. But after they moved, there were suddenly dead ladybugs everywhere, where the windows aren't flush in the rec room - which also isn't insulated very well if at all. Its very cold back there. Josh is going to fill in and weather strip everything that he can, and I've been reading about energy conservation and passive solar heating, so we're using this opportunity to try to make our little home as healthy and efficient as possible.
I think – and I'm not sure, because I can't look it up again to verify everything exactly – but I think the only real requirement for homeschooling in Missouri is to keep a journal/record of what you're doing. I've started that, and I'm also doing a little sketch in the corner of how the sun moves throughout the day. I have the shoddiest memory anyway (which I'm working on), so part of this is to help with all this solar energy through the season stuff I've been reading about, and part is being mindful of what lahermite was telling me when I first started gardening. She was much more aware of the natural order of things than I was, and she showed me a lot about setting up her home and garden, and I saw how she paid super close attention that first year.
The girls are really enjoying being farmgirls more than they'd expected. Ivy was particularly upset by the move, and Eden has always maintained that she was excited but it was still scary. From the first day, she's enjoyed running around outside with a passel of animals trailing after her. She's already bought hunting magazines and is super eager to go hunting in our forest. I told her that we have to learn how to do it legally, and we'll probably have to wait until after the house gets set up, so we might miss this season. Explaining the regulations and trying to learn about them together is a good family & unschooling experience, but she's very unhappy about that. It's nice to see her so eager/
We're still all sleeping on mattresses on the floor (need to find a place to rent a carpet shampooer), so she and sissy have been sleeping side by side in Eden's room. Ivy's still a bit nervous about having their own rooms, but I think she'll do well. That's the only thing she's still not sure about. She wants to stay with sissy, but Eden's old enough to want her own private place, and we have plenty of room for it. Ivy had one accident the night we got here wet the bed, which she'd started doing again before we left NC and we'd a big talk about. She hasn't had any more trouble and is happy staying in her own bed all night while it's next to Eden. I'm hoping she'll be comfortable enough once we get the beds set up. Ivy's going to keep the bunkbeds in her room, and Eden will pick out a new bed. I'm going to let Ivy get a new dresser so she can have something new and pretty to spruce up her room. We're going to paint them eventually and let the girls do them however they want. Eden wants hers pink, and she's already picked out a princess rug she wants, but Ivy's hesitant to do her room. I'm trying to ease her into the excitement of it, but we're not rushing it.
Achaiah, my oldest baby, is indeed meant for the outdoors. When she was a pup, I kept her outside except at night. When we moved to our trailer in Leicester, we weren't allowed to keep animals outside unless we were with them. I'd take her out quite a bit, and when I was in a particularly motivated stretch, we would go for daily walks down our road. I'm as glad to see her frolicking on a bunch of land as I am for the girls. She did well on all three of her rides she joined us on between NC and MO, and she is an exceptionally smart dog. We have a very special bond that I don't think any other relationship has matched. It's hard to explain in words, but I guess most everyone has had an otherworldly bond with a pet at some point. If you haven't, keep adopting and loving and it's bound to happen. Achaiah is happy to run around and roll in the dirt. She's taken very well to Bo. He was waiting for us here, and she jumped out of the truck and raised her hackles, and I just said “No” and petted Bo. That was it, he's part of the pack. She doesn't go near the road, and she stays right with us whenever we take a walk or go exploring.
Bo must not have been around girl dogs, because he's literally been up her ass the whole first few days, and he just doesn't know what to do with himself. We set the animals up with their bowls under one of the awnings on our outbuilding, and we had to give Bo his own big bowl, since he doesn't seem to know how to share. Either that or we did leave him with too little food for too long. He's about twice as big as Achaiah and eats way more than I'd expected. The only fight so far has been about food. He broke Achaiah's automatic feeder bowl and she's pissed at him. He may be twice her size, but she's the big dog in town.
Babyface has done well. She's the stray who adopted us. I was worried about her, after she'd fallen asleep in Josh's jeep without him knowing and woke up as they drove into the lights at the main road. She freaked and jumped out the back, and he realized it was Babyface and tried to find her. She was lost for about five days and came back just in time for our move. We got her a carrier, and she seems happy enough in Missouri, glad to be with us. We let her in once to see the house, and she sniffed at all our things and was happy to go back outside.
Cinder doesn't like it. She's been an inside cat her whole life, who'd been happy enough to escape outside through a whole in one window and go fight Babyface. Now that she's supposed to be outside, she really wants back in. She's too used to being Josh's lap warmer who gets petted all evening long. She's not happy to be outside, and I think it's actually colder here. But it makes her, Babyface, and Sable all get along better now that they all huddle in a warmth pile with Achaiah on the porch at night. Cinder was so funny when we finally let her in to check out the house yesterday morning. She sniffed everywhere with this crazy look and her tail straight up. She seemed satisfied to go back outside once she realized all our stuff was here, and the kids had their beds set up and were playing happily.
Sable, Babyface's kitty that we kept from her litter, is as unhappy as Cinder. At three months, she is apparently also spoiled as a house pet. As I was typing this up, she somehow found a hole and crawled in through our heating vents. Josh had to take it apart to get her out. Good thing we got the nail gun last night, because she broke it a little. I guess that's my fault for letting her come in to warm up this morning, after it got a bit frosty last night. Bo apparently likes to chase her up trees though, and then Josh has to rescue her. They're starting to get along better, but Sable would really much rather stay inside. I'm not letting them, though. I'm too allergic for that, and I want this house to stay nice.
Josh smiles a lot, and he called our home beautiful even as we scrubbed nasty. That's good to see. He can't wait to finish setting everything up so we can start focusing on the land. Me too.