Wow! What a trip. My apologies to my vast audience, who have been waiting with bated breath to hear of my latest adventures. (yeah, I know.)
Just to give a backdrop, we’ve been virtually house-hunting for several months. Three times we found a house that we were ready to purchase, and each time it was already sold or our offer was not accepted. We have joked that a sure way for a house to sell was for my MIL to express interest in it. She should offer her services to local realtors.
Anyway, we arrived Stateside with high hopes of finding a van and a house, in that order. We had some trouble finding a van, but ended up with a 94 Suburban that doesn’t quite fit all of us. Then up to Arkansas to visit Bob’s family and house-hunt some more. We couldn’t help noticing that the scenery is more “pretty” up here. Though I also notice that the Oklahoma landscape has a greater effect on me; I feel wild and free and happily lonesome there. Can’t describe it very well… Back to the story. The day after we got to Bob’s mom’s house, we were awakened to the phone ringing. Bob’s Grandma had a stroke and was in the hospital. The next week was a bit different from our expectations. Bob spent most of his time at the hospital, while I drove the family back and forth from MIL’s house. MIL has 3 Golden Retrievers and at least one of them lives in the house. I’ve never had a problem with house dogs before, but having been without one for 3 years, and going into that… it will be a LONG time before I have a dog in the house.
Grandma died on Sunday and we stuck around until the funeral on Wednesday. There was a bit of a ruckus about cleaning out her house/dividing the stuff, but that eventually cleared out. Bob’s ex-wife came to the funeral, and sat in the family section of the parlor, even though Bob had requested that she not do that. MIL apologized to Bob for her being there, but then told her that she was glad she came. So I’m having a hard time with that appearance of duplicity. I’m sure MIL was “just being polite” but I don’t know to whom. When all was said and done, there were 3 flowers that no one else wanted to keep, so we got them. Does your family do this? It surprised me at Bob’s grandpa’s funeral, that the flowers sent by any one person’s friend or relative “belong” to that person rather than to the service itself, or the nearest survivor.
We went back to Oklahoma at some point (sorry I’m losing track of the days) so Bob could go see the VA rep at Tinker AFB, and I could have a nice birthday at home. Saturday we went to a home auction; a nice-size but run down house on 16 acres that went for $30k. As the auctioneer begged for a better price, Bob admitted that if it was in Arkansas he would probably pay that much. So from that point we stopped looking for houses in Oklahoma, knowing it was a lost cause. Monday he went to the VA, only to find out it isn’t a “one stop shop” like it is in Germany. The man basically went over Bob’s records, pulling out various ailments that he can file for (like I had done 3 months ago). He will get a package in the mail in 2 weeks or so, with doctors’ appointments (plural). You bet we are excited about that. Tuesday was the 3-3 birthday. Mom made stuffed fried wontons for me (like nothing you’ll ever get at a Chinese takeaway) as well as chocolate cake and various fillers. I went to bed happy that night!
Thursday we came back to Arkansas. We stayed 2 nights with MIL, and then came over to Grandma’s. In that time we talked to MIL about buying Grandma’s house (it was left to MIL in the will). She had planned to sell it, but liked to idea of keeping it in the family and we agreed to work things out. So, it was settled – we would buy Grandma’s house, and live in the place Bob has always considered “home.”
Saturday we came out to the house to help the family with the sorting. Most of the family was there, and people talked about what items they wanted, came to agreement quickly, and started packing things up. Some had to go home, but some came back on Sunday afternoon to clean out more. Monday we were on our own. We went into town and got the utilities switched over to our name, and ordered internet. They don’t have wireless routers, so for now we are on one at a time, but it is plenty fast for most uses. We went on into the city to take 7 large garbage bags of Grandma’s clothes to Goodwill, and then shopped a little. I’m looking for a new washer and dryer (my birthday present). Bob bought a chainsaw, and we looked at toilets. Grandma’s toilets are short and small, and it is hard to get the business done properly.
Tuesday we finished cleaning out the house. There is a carport stall full of trash, a garage full of stuff to sell, and the furniture is still in the house! This, after everyone took home what things they wanted! An Aunt reported that all the loose change found in the house added up to over $200. There were photos in every drawer, shelf, and cabinet… I also washed all the curtains, and Bob, Taryn, and I vacuumed all the carpets, walls, ceilings, and furniture. The cleaning dirtied my bed, so we washed the sheets and blankets, too. Things had gotten a bit dusty and cobweb-y, and I was so stuffed up yesterday that I couldn’t swallow.
Today (Wednesday), we finished up the vacuuming, cleaned out the deep freeze (beef from 1987! Grandpa’s dentures! Things so dried out we couldn’t identify!), made a compost heap, and dug a trench around one side of the house to keep water out of the garage. We also checked on filing for compensation for the Mini being damaged, and how to get our stuff from storage from Texas. (We need a scanner and a helpful mechanic). MIL came over after work to talk about payments on the house, and stayed to have dinner with us (tacos). I was breathing a lot better today, with everything finally clean. The house looks pretty nice with all the clutter gone.
Tomorrow we go back to Oklahoma, because Friday there is an auto auction with several vans listed. Sunday is Elijah’s birthday, and we have some more business at Tinker.
So now we are all caught up, however poorly. :-)