Conner and I went ahead and checked out his school yesterday, after the negotiations for the house started looking up. (In other words, started up again.) I wanted to at least pre-register, and really just get a hands-on look in case it somehow turned out awful so we could still turn the whole thing off. We both loved it: it's big; and it's a pretty new building. (A lot of schools around this area are older and in need of renovation; still don't have AC, for example. Kind of a big problem this week when many schools started (then promptly cancelled) in this 100-degree heat.) But, more than that, the office staff was very warm and welcoming and competent and with-it. But even more than that, I saw in them the pride in their school that I had sensed over the phone. Definitely a warm and fuzzy.
We happened to get there right as new-student orientation was finishing up, so we saw how the office staff handled hordes of parents with kids teeming around and asking questions. (Which also gave me the added bonus of being able to check out other families and kids.) And they dealt very efficiently with my questions and issues, too, and didn't freak out or act annoyed with our as-usual unusual situation (not many kids moving to Centerville, Ohio who recently attended an Italian school, for instance.)
Conner starts school next Tuesday and he's both excited and nervous. He's glad that he's starting on time -- really, how lucky that this house was zoned for a school that starts a week later than many others here do? And he's really glad that all of the kids in his grade are also starting at this school for the first time, whether they're altogether new to the area, like he is, or just coming from grade schools around Centerville.
I, on the other hand, am more than ready for my vacation from Buying A House. It's not done yet, but all the balls are in motion and I don't want to talk on the phone again for a very, very long time. After all the research I did into lenders and this and that, we just ended up going with USAA anyway. Won't I ever learn? We still have a leftover bad taste in our mouths that the seller really, really doesn't like us. Or, at least, doesn't like that we offered him so much less. And then still offered him less after he said that was his final offer. (Even though he got closer to what he wanted than we did to what we wanted. Hey, it's a soft market, and bidness is bidness.) But he doesn't have to like us. We're just praying that there are no real problems with the inspections as he no less than stated (he said that she said that he said) that he was not going to be flexible in that area. (Apparently, here anyway, it's a real gray area whether a problem found in an inspection is big enough to cancel a deal.) Problem is, he's flipping this house and never actually lived in it, so we're getting about every kind of inspection done that you can imagine. He readily offered at his open house that this was his first attempt to flip, and while he did put a lot of work and money into fixing it, updating it ... well, you just never know.
On another note, if we ever doubted that we really needed to look for a 4-bedroom, living in this hotel has clinched it. The little ones have kept each other up night after night, whether it's not going to sleep for all the talking and mischief, or one (usually Sean-Peter) waking up the other with night terrors or just general I Don't Want To Be In Bed Anymore. We're hoping to close in two weeks. Please! Instead of almost two weeks after that we had originally estimated. Stuff or no stuff, this living on top of each other is for the birds. It truly is the whining and screeching and squealing and belly-aching that takes years off a parent's soul. And replaces them with wrinkles.
Here's one of the little terrors, still not used to air conditioning. Brrrrr!
Here they are about a month ago (still in Italy). What a Cool Cat.
At our back door in Italy: "Sean-Peter, look out for that big, big spider!" She still tells people about that spider. Anyone who asks her about Italy gets regaled with tales, hand motions and all, about the "Big, big spider". Like if you go there that's all you'll see.
In our very empty kitchen, our last day in the house. On the oh-so-dangerous marble floors in front of the walls I painted that our landlord tried to make us pay extra for. ("Red paint." Sad head shake. "Very, very bad.") Never mind that they get, like, $2000 from the U.S. government to paint the house each time one of us military famlies moves into it -- money they mostly pocket when they pay Guiseppe $300 to whitewash the walls. They were just bitter they might have to use real paint in this room. The idea that they could just leave it -- I even touched it up and left them the extra -- is a concept lost on them. Even though everyone who came into my kitchen commented on it and wished they had it, too. (Or maybe that's just me romanticizing how everyone should be so brave with color. In at least one room.)(And really, if you don't even move around like we do you really have no excuse.)I still love that color. Michelangelo, eat your heart out.
But as much as they hated that color, you should have seen them when they saw Spongebob: they positively shuddered. I guess they don't like the show.John had painted this mural on the kids' bedroom wall. Yes, free-hand. And, yes, we let our kids watch Spongebob.
And finally, in front of our new (to us) van. Still not big enough to swallow up the moans and gripes and piercing shrieks, but we're totally loving it anyway.