Sunday, February 7, 2016

My Girls and Their Journey

I think I should just start a series called "Another thing I didn't blog about last year was the time..." because I want to start every post these days with that line.

How interesting that must be for you. "This one time at band camp..."

Anyway, both my daughters left the country last year. My youngest in May and her older sister in December. I'm missing them both right now and I wanted to write a little bit about their journeys.

Quote about life's journey. Some beautiful paths can't be discovered without getting lost.

The Girl's Story 

The Girl is my youngest child, who struggled with addiction since she was 15. We thought she was on the road to recovery after a thirty day drug rehab program when she was 18, but she returned home only to relapse and disappear three days later.

It was jail that actually helped her get straight. Well...the things she learned in rehab contributed, but jail made her realize what her life was going to be like if she continued the way she was going.

After jail, her father encouraged her to start attending his church. She seemed to have found what she was searching for there, and faith and hope filled the void inside her that drugs could not. She has stayed on her recovery path for almost four years now.

She decided to pursue a career in Christian counseling in hopes that her experience could help others. Her church operates Bible Colleges all over the world and she left in May to attend one in the Philippines.

Girl in Dumaguete Philippines
My beautiful little girl.
It took some getting used to for her. The school is in a rural area with limited Wifi access. It's self-sustaining, so the students take turns doing chores like taking care of the farm animals and working in the garden. She washes her clothes by hand. Despite the lack of modern conveniences, she loves it there. She spends her days learning Scripture, going on short missions, working on the farm, and exploring the area.

Girl holding goat on farm in Philippines
She commented on Instagram that she can't stop laughing every time she sees this picture. Her sister said, "Is it because you and the goat are making the same face?" 

Beautiful mountains near Dumaguete Philppines
The mountains near Dumaguete in the Philippines

Beautiful sunset over the ocean near Dumaguete in the Philippines
Sunset over the water near Dumaguete in the Philippines.
She's experienced more in her 22 years than the average person. So many things that I wish she hadn't. But sometimes we have to walk the wrong path to find the right one and she's found her right path now. I'm so proud of her for the courage it took both to change her life and to embark on this adventure so far from home.

Sissa's Story

Quote about life's journey. Not everyone will understand your journey.

Then there's my hippie girl. My free spirit. She's always gone her own way and when her mind is made up about something, there's no talking her out of it.

She and two girlfriends backpacked all over Kauai for ten months, during which time I read all about her cringe-worthy escapades on Instagram. When she returned from that adventure, she went on tour with her boyfriend's band. The five of them toured through the U.S., living out of their van most of the time. She loved it.

Now she's in India. She left December 1st to attend Yoga School in Rishikesh, a town located near the base of the Himalaya mountains and known as The Yoga Capital of the World. Her course lasted thirty days but she stayed in India to see other areas of the country.

Girl outside sitting by water in Rishikesh India
My Adventure Girl in Rishikesh, India
She became well-known by the locals as The Hula Hoop Girl. Below, she's hooping on the Ganges River.

Girl using her hula hoop in the Ganges River in India.
Yes, she brought her hoop with her all the way from Vegas. Fortunately, it comes apart for easy travel.

Beautiful water in Pushkar India
Pushkar, India. Just look at that water.
One of her Instagram posts was this:
"Change is the only constant. We can try to resist and hold on. We can attempt to stay and keep, but it would only be making the natural flow of the universe feel hard and unnatural. Not knowing is something to embrace. How beautiful is it to not have a thought about when, where, how, or why? All we have is now. All we can do is be."
That's her heart in a nutshell. She lives to just be. She lives for now.

Girl and a friend sitting by the lake in Pushkar India
Sissa with a fellow traveler in Pushkar, India
The paths of my girls are very different, but their journey is the same. They are finding themselves and their place in the world. The places they go and the things they see and experience will help shape them into the people they were meant to be.

I know it was partly the roots we helped them plant at home that gave them the wings to take these journeys now and that makes me happy. But I still can't wait for them to come home.

Two girls by the ocean writing Sisters in the sand
Both my girls.

Happy Travels,

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Party Poopers

I have a story to tell you.

It was a Saturday night and the hubby and I had enjoyed a cozy day at home together. I made a nice dinner, we watched a movie, I had some wine...all was right with the world.

We were especially happy because we were finally going to close escrow on the house we were selling. We had already moved out and were anxious to have the whole ordeal over and done with. It was scheduled to close in two days.

As we were getting ready for bed, our peace was shattered by a phone call from an old neighbor of ours.

That time we broke up a house party and were complete Party Poopers. And left a lasting impression on the neighbors.

I knew it was going to be bad when she started whispering into the phone, "There's 20 kids in front of our house and they're all headed over to your house!"


I told the hubs, we both threw on clothes, he grabbed his baseball bat, and we headed over to the house.

I have no idea what he thought he was going to do with the baseball bat.

Jackie Chan fight scene.

We got there in ten minutes and as we drove through the community towards our house, we noticed lots of cars parked on the side streets and we both thought, "Huh. Wouldn't it be funny if they were all for our house?"

As we approached, we both spotted two kids in our front yard. I use "kids" loosely. They were somewhere between 17 and 23.

Now at that point, I was on the phone with the police because I had called them on the way over to let them know the situation and that there might be a possible break-in happening at our empty house. And I was fully prepared to be all calm and just park nearby and wait for the police to arrive, if that's what the hubby thought best to do.

Mr. Wonderful had other ideas.  He punched the gas, zoomed into the driveway, screeched to a stop, and jumped out of the car, bat in hand.

So I did what any good wingman would do and just followed his lead. I had no idea what I was going to do when I jumped out of the car behind him, but I figured I'd have his back and work the rest out as things progressed.

Kung Fu Panda doing his thang.

Hubby started yelling at the two kids to get off our property and they pretty much just shuffled off. Well, that was easy.

Then Fred opened the front door.

And there were strobe lights and smoke and loud music...

And wall.

To wall.


They were in the living room, in the hallway, on the stairs, they were everywhere. One had even climbed over the second floor stair railing and perched on the pot shelf, dangling his feet down like he was a flippin' Elf on a Shelf.

I was shocked into stunned silence. I couldn't comprehend what I was seeing.

Carrie Bradshaw shocked.

For about five seconds.

Then all I could say was, "Oh. My. God." over and over.

Mind you, the police dispatcher was still on the phone. "There's fifty kids in my house! Fifty kids! There's fifty kids in my house!" I screamed into the phone like a crazy woman.

The dispatcher was all, "Yeah. Lots of kids. Got it. Now calm the hell down." She tried to get us to get back in our car and wait for the officers to get there and in retrospect, that's what we should have done. But the shock of it all and the adrenaline rushing though us controlled our actions, not common sense.

And oh, the stench of pot! You could smell it ten feet away from the front door.

Fred stood there with his bat hanging down in his hand, feeling pretty silly, because his bat wouldn't have done a whole lot of good if fifty kids decided to jump him for breaking up their party.

So he did what any sane adult would do when faced with a mob of kids they can't control. He started yelling. He told them to get the hell out of our house and that the cops were on their way, among other things.

"Cops" must have been the magic word because suddenly, they started pouring out of the house from every opening. Our neighbor told us later that it was like watching cockroaches scurry out from under a fridge. They came out of the front door, the back door, both side gates, and later we learned they were even climbing down from our upstairs balcony.

And me, being the good wingman that I am, stood outside the front door and lectured all of them as they came out.

"Who do you think you are? This is someone's home! What are you thinking?"

Fred told me later that he was yanking me back by my sleeve and I kept pulling away from him to go lecture another kid.

I really don't remember that. I just remember feeling so violated and indignant that these hooligans were partying in MY house. And they were brazen little f*ckers too! They looked at me like I had some nerve telling them to leave!

Miley Cyrus do not care attitude.

It was unbelievable.

Did I mention the police helicopter yet? About the time I was yelling at the dispatcher that there were fifty kids in our house for the 50th time, she ordered up the helicopter. It must have been quite a sight from the air to see all those kids pouring out of the house.

And do you know what else?

As we stood there lecturing kids and ignoring the police dispatcher telling us to get back in the car, MORE cars poured into the community. Like 30 more cars, at least. They cruised by, saw the commotion, and kept right on going, but they were on their way to the party!

I shudder to think how out of control the whole thing could have gotten. Thanks to our neighbor, we caught it pretty early in the festivities.

An officer got there probably five minutes or so after we did. ONE officer. I told the dispatcher there were FIFTY kids and ONE officer shows up! Thanks to us being lunatics though, we had already scared all the kids off so there wasn't much for him to do.

The cop investigated and found out the party, along with the community gate code, had been tweeted out and that's why so many kids had shown up to it.

The most amazing thing was that there was NO damage to the house. Can you believe that? There were lots of empty booze bottles and ash and footprints everywhere, but nothing broken.

The most depressing thing was that it looked like the rockin'-est party ever to be had in our home... and we weren't invited.

Muppets at a rockin' party.
Seriously, this was our view from the front door.

We spent the whole next day cleaning everything up and the hardest thing to do was getting the pot stench out. We Febrezed the shit out of the place and prayed it would cover the smell long enough for escrow to lose.

The house sale did go through that following Monday, thank God.

We picture the buyers getting a whiff of a faint pot smell every once in a while and saying, "Damn, thems some POT-smokin' mofos that used to live here!"

About a week after the sale closed, we got a letter in the mail from the Homeowner's Association notifying us that the gate code for the community had changed. It said "There was a break-in and the gate code was tweeted out and a party ensued."

So...cops, a party, police helicopter, lunatics yelling in the front yard, the HOA changing the gate code because of us...yup. That's going out with a bang.

Our new neighbors don't know what they're in for!

Party on dude!

P.S. This post brought to you by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop and by the prompt: Write a post inspired by the word "shocked." And by the letter P and the number 50.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Truth About Showing Your Home to Buyers

One of the many things I didn't blog about last year was that we sold our house and moved.

The way I said that, it sounds simple. But if you've ever sold a home, you know it is anything but simple.

First you clean the house and throw tons of crap away. Then you list the house and spend all your time hiding the crap you didn't throw away from complete strangers that traipse through your house and decide if it's worthy of an offer.

It's a humbling experience and you just want it to be over with.

If you're going through the process of listing and showing your home, it's a stressful time and you have my sympathy. Lucky for you, I've made a list of tips to help you show your home to potential buyers successfully.

The Truth about showing your Home to buyers. It's all a facade!

1.  Put away anything that implies real humans reside in the home.

When you're selling your home, you got to do stuff.

House hunters don't want to see any signs of someone else's life in their potential dream home. You must pretend that no eating, relaxing. sleeping, cooking, bathing, or mess making of any type happens anywhere on the property.

Clean off counter tops, make beds, hide laundry piles, and kick the dogs outside. And don't think you can get away with just stashing junk in a cupboard or drawer because they look there too. If you must stash a junk pile in a hurry, get one of those shallow bins that fit under a bed and throw it in there for a quick fix. Or skip the bin and just throw it under the bed. And hope you don't have a weirdo buyer that looks under the bed.

2.  Hide all evidence that poop happens anywhere on the premises.

Hide evidence of pooping.

Potential buyers don't want to think about someone else pooping in their potential toilets. They just don't. Get rid of the reading material in the bathroom, hide the plunger, put away the extra roll of toilet paper on the back of the toilet and hide the butt wipes. Eliminate all evidence of, well...elimination.

Your husband will not understand this. Be prepared for lots of arguments and questions, and to have to plug your nose while handing him each of these things while he's sitting on the toilet.

3. The above applies to pet poop too.

When showing your house to buyers, put the dogs outside.

Scoop the two three weeks worth of poop from the yard, hose off the dog piddle on the patio and make sure there are no presents sitting in plain sight in the cat box. And then pray no one lays a fresh dookie five seconds before the people come to the door.

4. Hide evidence of all other bodily excretions too.

Sophia Vergara makes yuchy face.

For God's sake, stash the tampons, panty liners, suppositories and hemorrhoid tucks somewhere out of sight! That goes for Q-tips too. And don't forget to dump the bathroom trash because any of the aforementioned items are even more repulsive to potential buyers after they are used.

5. Assume your house stinks and act accordingly.

Sheldon sprays Febreze.

Let's face it. Everyone is immune to their own funk. You might think your house smells just fine, but between the dogs, the cats, and the fish you cooked last night, a good whiff just might curl the nose hairs of visitors. So light some candles, get some plug-ins or spray some Febreze around.

6. If at all possible, have your spouse take the dogs for a car ride during house showings.

Doggies up to no good.

Seriously. Your dogs will act like complete creeps just when you need them on their best behavior. As soon as the doorbell rings the whole place is going to sound like a kennel and horrify any potential buyers.

You'll think you're clever by asking the agents to call and give you a heads up when they're a few minutes away so you have time to put the dogs outside, thus avoiding the cacophony of barks at the front door. But no.

It turns out the little bastards are equally clever. They will soon catch on that when you run around throwing junk under the bed, dumping the bathroom trash and spraying Febreze everywhere, that means people are coming to the door and they will not cooperate when you try to make them go outside.

They will do the opposite of cooperating and run upstairs and hide. You won't have time to chase them down and hurl them through the doggie door before the doorbell rings and so the dreaded cacophony of barks will commence..

Save yourself all the stress and tell your spouse to take them for a car ride.

I hope these tips help the next time you need to show your home. They may seem like a lot of extra work but remember, the whole point of it all is to find one sucker  buyer who falls for the charade of perfection and makes an offer. Then you can take it off the market already and be left the hell alone.

That is, until the appraiser and home inspector show up. Oh who am I kidding, the whole process is a circus from start to finish. Keep alcohol at the ready.

Better hide it in the garage.

Happy home selling,

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