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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Coconut Grove...treasure found....

I found it! Nearly 5 miles from the condo... the most incredible area! A grand park that is HUGE- lots of different play toy areas, exercise area (a little cheesey- but Elle loved it), bridge over the water with an incredible view of boats and wind surfers, open grass, sand volleyball pits, jogging path.... awwww..... a mile past the park is an area called Coconut Grove... a bit to the opposite extreme fromo "my" neighborhood... pretty ritzy.... nice stores, a market (can't wait to check that out), sidewalks without trash, broken furniture and dog poop on them, a beautiful marina, no bars on the windows, The Cheesecake Factory (!!!! YUM!) and other stores that I recognize. The greatest part of it all is that NO highway is required to get there! I make 2 turns and that's it.... I may just have a change of heart about the city after all...

Friday, October 22, 2010

We survived!

My courage was still wanting this morning for the grocery trip... I ended up walking with the kids in the stroller... I would rather be mugged than get lost on the highway!... I found the grocery store (about a mile-mile and a half away) and only bought what I could fit in the stroller and then rushed to get home before any of the perishables went bad. Finding that store on foot (way easier to go back the way you came on foot that by vehicle) gave me the confidence to pull up my boot straps and find the bank AND Wal*Mart (which I rarely shop at back home). I was so proud of myself, with Mapquest's help- I found both! And then failed miserably to find my way back home... I should have mapquested my return trip as well because retracing my steps does not work when they don't have the same street exits going one way as they do the other. These erronds would have taken me MAYBE 50 minutes to complete back home.... today... 2 hours 38 minutes... same approximate mileage... not to mention how difficult it is to haul purchases in with two kids- one who needs to be carried and an assigned parking spot that is as far away as possible (75 yards?) from the 4 (yes FOUR) doors that we have to go through to get to our condo. Just to bring in the $38 worth of groceries took me 3 trips...Again... seriously... how/why do people live like this as a choice?!

Did I mention that everything here is WHITE?

White tile floors, white dishes, white towels, white sheets, white bath rugs, white (well, really sort of cream) cushioned dinning room chairs, and white walls... oh dear.... I do not belong here... I suddenly notice how dinggy all of my things are (mom- you were right...). I had no idea how much soot would be on our patio! Within hours of being here we have successfully made trails of BLACK throughout the condo with our dirty bare feet! One bath rug is totally at a loss and Elle managed to get her little black feet on a wall. Blueberries for dinner were a trial for not staining the chair cushions, and I just immediately boxed up all the white towels and sheets and comforters and put them in the closet. This place will be lucky to survive me and my children... I am going to buy some slip covers for the furniture and the dinning room table chairs... how do people live like this? I am just glad there's no carpet... Talk about CULTURE shock!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

13 states, 3376.4 miles, 4.5 days and 2 kids under 4

Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida... We have arrived!
Here was some of the play by play:

20 minutes in- Elle: "I have to go potty."
35 minutes in (just after leaving rest stop for Elle)- a strange noise... is that a water hose broke in the engine? (I say that like I know what that is... I have no clue, but it sounded like what I'd imagine one breaking would sound like). Pull off... nope! Just the toy oven "boiling water"... back on the road...
1 hour, 20 minutes in- Elle: "Are we almost there?" =)
3 hours in- carrier starts whapping (is that word?) against the roof of the van...seriously DEAFENING... pull over, tighten the strap... 5 minutes later, still doing it... This continues for about a hour before I am determined enough to figure out a way to stop it or just leave it on the side of the road... I wrap a wash cloth with electrical tape (thank you Niki! It was the roll you gave me ages ago) around the srap and problem fixed.
Day 2 -Christian cried the ENTIRE day. The only time he didn't cry was when he finally fell asleep for short naps. When he finally fell asleep at "night" (7pm) I decided to keep going to get a couple hours in while there was finally SILENCE. (Elle had been an angel all day.) I stopped at about 10pm hoping to carry in two groggy kids and put them to bed and then crash myself... Christian was WIRED! It was so adorable... he was so happy to be out of that car seat, the was flopping around on the bed, head butting me, growling and having such a fun time....until nearly 1 am.... Elle thankfully slept through it all.
Day 3- Elle: "Are we going back home now?"
My phone car charger is broke... My battery is low and abviously this is a problem... turn phone off to save battery
Day 4- Stop at a gas station to ask where nearest Verizon store is for a car charger. The guy tells me, but also showes me that they have car chargers and directs me to the rack....of about 30 different chargers... none of them are working. He kindly comes around the counter, "what phone are you looking for one for?" I show him, "this one"... He chuckles outload with great restraint to hold it in... "no, I know we won't have one for THAT one...better try the Verizon store."
I find the Verizon store... I present my phone at the counter and inform them that I need a new charger. There are 3 people standing there, and they all look at each other with smirks on their faces. I am thinking I must have granola bar stuck to my face or something... "no ma'am (did he just call ME ma'am!?), we haven't carried cords for THAT phone in THREE years." !!!! Apparently I have an ANTIQUE cell phone! So I had to buy a whole new phone in order to get a charger. I got the cheapest one there and it is still so stink'en complicated and fancy!
Day 5- we arrive! The FIRST turn off of a main hyway and I am lost! I don't get over fast enough- those semi's don't take the mini van with the 2 decade old roof rack seriously... I am COMPLETELY lost and all turned around- I end up on a bridge that is taking me WAY to the other side of the city.... I am so stressed out... I hate the city... I got it all figured out to get back to the correct side of the city and Michael met me at a gas station and had me follow him the rest of the way...completely helpless... I am never leaving the condo...

Trip Observation:

Not a SINGLE person asked what was taking us to Florida... NO ONE asked a SINGLE question when I mentioned we were traveling from WA to FL. They all just sort of looked at us... we looked RAGGED... the kids had dread locks forming on the backs of their heads from their carseats rubbing, Christian rarely had pants on and was ALWAYS covered in whatever food he had been eating for the last 5 hours, Elle never wanted to wear shoes and had WAY too much time to pick the scabs on her chin and cheeks and often had dried blood on her face. I won't even start to describe how rough I looked... let's just say it was NOT pretty... Everyone who saw us either thought I was running away from my abusive husband, or I had stollen those kids and was on a run for it....probably didn't help that I paid with cash every where I went. Those kids don't look like me at all...which is a whole nother story... "oh your kids are SO CUTE... they look JUST like their dad."... Not as much with Christian... in fact in the beginning I had people ask what ethnicity my husband was! (he sort of has chinnese eyes) and then there were (are) all these comments... "where does that RED hair come from?!"... hello folks- I AM 40% IRISH!.... I promise, I don't know any red headed Chinnese men... anyway, I digress... I am certain that a family almost offered to buy us lunch one day at McDonalds when it was taking me a minute to find my cash!

To the drivers who saw me dancing like a crazy person... there were kids behind those tinted windows and THEY were loving it.... To the Verizon store that allowed my children to run around and roll on the ground and play like crazy in that huge open show room.... thank you.... And to the woman at the rest stop that was seriously beside herself in shock that I allowed my children to run through the sprinklers and roll in the grass down the hill... you should try it sometime...

Here's photo's of the new place...

Those are the trees roots!

Our new back yard. =(

Couldn't be more different, but the pool is awesome and it is so sunny and warm here! Tomorrow's adventure... find a grocery store... and find our way back... oh my... how my "adventures" have changed... I think I'd rather help birth a cow...