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As I have mentioned before, back in January I started teaching here in Minnesota.  Teaching is one of those jobs that absorbs all of the creative and whimsical energy that you have in your body for ten months out of the year, and then all of a suddenly it stops.  Then, once you have turned in your keys and slept past the alarm on the first Monday of summer vacation, the feelings of wanting to create things, have a hobby, and that overall can do spirit all come rushing back.  I am not saying that teaching is a bad gig, just that it is a job that requires all of you.  Making time to keep up with my blogging has been limited at best.  Now that summer is here I feel refreshed and renewed.  Let’s catch up shall we?

Hazards of Being a Renter!

Being a renter has some drawbacks. Mainly, it is not our place so we don’t have much control.  In this case the homeowners of the house that we had been living in, are in the process of moving home from China.  They asked very nicely if we would move out three months prior to the end of the contract, if they agreed not to charge us for the remaining time.  This sounded fair enough to me, so we started looking right away. We looked frantically for a new place that would provide more space and be better suited for our lifestyle. After visiting several less than desirable places we finally found a place and signed the contract back in May.   That was a huge weight off of my mind.  I’m happy because it is a more open floor plan and we have much more space.  We are very near a lovely golf course, so the mister is also pleased.  It turns out that we have neighbors behind us that not only have kids, but the daughter is in Ethan’s preschool class.  She is also in Maya’s dance class.  As if that were not enough, we just recently learned that we have small tree frogs living in the backyard.  Needless to say,  the kids are thrilled.  They are little tree frogs that hide deep in the grass with their little wiggly bottoms up in the air when they hear the clattering of the lawn mower coming.  This sound surely signals impending doom in the world of a tiny tree frog.  It reminds me of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm.  Anyway, we are almost moved in. We have had almost a month to move.  With the help of some good friends we managed all of the big stuff, but I’ve been dragging my feet on the remaining little stuff.  At least now we are living at the new place and just making daily trips back to the old house to grab stuff.  It is so nice to have room to breathe.  So nice in fact, that I wonder if we should just leave the remaining stuff at the old house.  If we are not missing it that must mean that we don’t really need it, right?

The next move will have to be a corporate move.  I have learned that I don’t like packing or unpacking.

On the flip side of the “Renter’s Coin,” it has been nice to not worry about the daily headaches of owning a home.  Did I mention that we are living in the new house?  Good.  Did I mention the flooded basement?  Just when I was thinking it would be nice to own a home again, I learned about sump pumps,  back-up batteries, and flood damage clean-up.  This spring has brought record rains and severe thunder and lightning storms to Minnesota.  Along with the specular light shows and booming claps of thunder comes a large amount of rain.  People here in Minnesota appear to already be familiar with this concept. This past Tuesday we had yet another storm that produced rain, hail, and strong winds.  When the National Weather Service issued the “Tornado Warning” and the sirens began to howel we headed back down to the basement.  At about 2:30 a.m., it was our second or third trip for the evening.  Andrew and I are still camping out in the basement with the kids every time we have a “Severe Storm” warning.  At about 6:30, after Ethan had finally settled in on the cushions beside me on the floor, I awoke and noticed that my shoulder was soaking wet.  I quickly ran all the possible explanations through my head and landed on the most likely, pee! Had Ethan really managed to pee on my shoulder while he was sleeping?  Disgusted with the thought, I grabbed Ethan out of a sound sleep to check his Pull-up.  In all fairness to me, he is three-year old boy and pees through his Pull-up on a regular basis. Upon realizing that Ethan was not the culprit, I started to feel the water on my knees and hands where I had been kneeling, still on the floor.  Panic set in.  It was only then that I realized that at some point the power had gone out and that the entire floor was soaking wet.  I quickly woke Andrew to help me investigate.  We found flashlights and started to examine the sump pump.  Now, anyone that knows anything about sump pumps know that there must be a power source in order for the thing to work.  Apparently, the homeowner knows about sump pumps and also knows that this area has a history of power failure during bad storms. He had the foresight to purchase a battery back-up for the pump.  Andrew and I (mostly Andrew) inspected the back-up battery that should be connected to the sump pump.  It seems that the previous renters did NOT know much about sump pumps, they had disconnected the back-up battery.  Thus when the power failed the sump pump shut off.  This caused it to fill with water and eventually flood the basement.  Dang, I must have been sound asleep!  We notified the homeowner right away and started the clean-up effort.  I bought a dehumidifier, two box fans, and rented a carpet cleaner.  After two days, several hours of removing water from the carpet, and many friends reminding me that we do not own this house, I gave up and called to request professional back-up from the homeowner.  Yes, it is good to be a renter sometimes!

Other Miscellaneous Stuff

Maya News – Maya is officially going to be a First Grader and she is not going to let anyone forget it.  She finished the school year reading at a second grade level and she even received an award from the district for her achievement in Reading.

Ethan News – Ethan is doing great in Preschool.  He has almost mastered his letters and numbers. He made several good friends that we will have to make play dates with over the summer.  He is itching to play organized sports.  Unfortunately, the local Recreation centers do not offer three year old sport like they do in California.  As a little man, he is keeping me on my toes and the words that come out of his mouth make me laugh every day.  I will have to post some of those another day.

Jennifer News – I have been “50 Shades” of busy since school ended.

Andrew News – Still working hard as ever that should not surprise anyone.  He does try and sneak in some golf when he is not busy with work and home obligations.  The rain has not helped his cause any, but I think he will live.