Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Aaaaaaaand... We're Back

Where to begin?

We made the big move from good ol' Utah to Arizona. (Have I mentioned I hate moving? Because, it pretty much blows.) Realizing how little we would have per month on a student budget when we got to AZ, we elected to buy a house. Huh? Yup. It is officially cheaper to buy than to rent in Phoenix (by a lot, thank you crazy housing market), so we took advantage of the economic downturn, and an old man with Alzheimer's, and signed our life away.

(As a major side note, there is nothing like stress to sap you of any desire to pick up a camera and be creative, let alone to document stuff. Sorry, Mum.)

We scored a moderate fixer... enough work that it was kind of a pain (also read "ugly"), but enough work that it feels like ours and we can continue to make it our own, and we got a good deal. There enough room for us, and a backyard. We also got into a nice quiet area with good neighbours, and a very good school district, and we are also easy biking distance from campus for Evan. Plus, we have loads of grocery stores nearby (including Whole Foods!), malls, Lowes, Home Depot, Ikea, Costco, pools, parks, Jimmy Johns, Chipotle, and practically everything we would ever need in about a 4 mile radius, which we are coming to find in Phoenix means really, really close. (The stars aligned.)

I will post later about the remodel, but for now here is a picture of the outside that we took when we first looked at the place in July. Word of warning: we did not pick the house colours. And we obviously have not done a thing to it since. One day we will repaint, but not anytime soon, that is for sure. We have to finish painting inside first, at least.

Wow, that tree looked so much greener than it is now. Hmm... we should probably do something about that before it falls on our roof.
Oh, and obviously, we will put in plants to brighten things up one day too.

I don't know if you noticed, but, yes, there is a barrel cactus planted in the middle of a stone circle, with boulders placed at the cardinal points in the front yard. I think, judging from the rest of the house, that was the old dude's attempt at decorating. But, Evan and I had a good laugh about pagan rituals, Wiccans, and sacrificial offerings when we first saw it.

Free to a good home: barrel cactus in good condition and four matching boulders.

So anyway, between closing and remodelling and packing we spent an awful lot of the last 2-3 months in our car driving between Utah, California, and Arizona. (CA was mainly so we could drop off kids with grandparents, while we did house things.)

Speaking of driving, I am sure I have griped to some of you, but we made a trip from CA to AZ and back in July in a truck with no airconditioning. You can't claim to be hardcore until you've sweated out that trip in 100+-heat-by-10-AM. We survived by getting bags of ice in Yuma, and holding on to them for dear life. On the way back we figured out that double bagging the ice in two trash bags prevented most, if not all of the ice-cold drenchings we were subjected to if we made a wrong move. I would have taken pictures to document, but you know, it was too hot to think.

We also celebrated out 5th anniversary. We went out with our kids to Pizzaria 712... we didn't want to leave them behind. My most favourite restaurant in the whole wide world. I have never had anything from there that was not astonishingly good. And, as a side note, I love that we can take our kids to that kind of restaurant and they will gladly eat whatever we are eating.

That is Ollie tucking his napkin into his shirt, which ended up being all the way in his shirt and then out the bottom.

See? They ate *our* food. (Brag, brag, brag.)

Then we took the kids to the moonlight ski-lift ride at Sundance. We have been wanting to do that ever since we first got to Utah, and just never found the time. But I am glad we made time for it. It was a great way to go out. And to prove that we were there we had this taken afterwards.

And then, of course, before we knew it, the summer was almost over, and our moving truck was picked up, and we had barely packed (even though I spent weeks carefully packing beforehand). Not to mention, it was time for us to go before we got to put even a scratch in our Utah Bucket List. (That is for another time, but most of it is some form of hiking or some form of eating. Probably best in that order, too.) Did I mention I hate packing? Did I also mention I hate packing a truck when we are supposed to be on a tight schedule, and we have to wait for 6 hours for the piano movers to get the bloody piano in the truck before we can do anything? We finally finished out about 12 hours after we had planned (although we had kind of planned that we would not run on schedule, so I guess it was planned), and I was so ready to get on the road and get the heck out that I didn't even take a picture of the truck. Sad day (*fake tear*). It was a thing of beauty, too: Evan masterfully packed it to the brim like Tetris. And we didn't even have any casualties on the other end.

I also hit a new milestone, which was travelling in the car with the kids by myself for a very long road trip. In fact, doing a whole road trip by myself was a first, too. Here are pictures of the kids, with Alena looking deceptively happy, on our way down that mesa right after Lake Powell, after the world's-worst-two-hour-nap... I'm actually not kidding.

Here Oliver is actually telling you what will happen to your body if you fall over the side of the railing... " will go down, down, and squish like this..."

Oh, and one of Evan, who got to drive the rental truck with the dog, whilst caravaning behind me. Lucky, lucky.

I conveniently did not get any pictures of myself.

And then after we finally (finally!) arrived (13 hours late) at our new home, and unpacked the truck in record time (an hour) so that the (2 hours early) piano movers could get to my dear musical instrument strapped at the absolute back of the vehicle, we spent a couple of days doing this:

And "this", of course, is sleeping, but more specifically, sleeping on mattresses on the floor with only the  most essential of mismatched bedsheets, while our bedframes lay propped against walls because it was too much darn work to put them together.

That's it for now. And if you made it this far you win the prize of me being the most impressed by your perseverance.

P.S. Evan started his Marriage Break-up Association a few weeks ago, and is doing well so far. And thanks to our ridiculous school + two jobs + me in school too schedule over the last year, I am coping with him being away from home for at least 12 hours a day much better than most other partners. Yay.


  1. I need to do a roadtrip through AZ and come visit you guys :) ---Nathan

  2. I love it! And MBA school should be renamed to lots of things. Thankfully, in Bob's MBA class there were more weddings and babies born than divorces. So it is possible. Congratulations on the house- moving sucks...

  3. I love this post! I love that you survived! I love those cute kids of yours and I'm sure going to miss you guys! I am now planning on going to Pizzaria 712 very soon and I think bed frames are highly overrated! :)

  4. Congrats on the house! Moving sounds like a very hot nightmare. I'm so curious about exactly where you house is, etc., because I grew up in Tempe. Naturally, I understand not posting the exact location on a blog. :) Anyway, good luck with everything!

  5. So excited for you!! I'm jealous you're in a house. I look forward to that day. Welcome to the Grad School Widowhood. It's a blast. (can you sense my sarcasm??) Congrats though!

  6. Wowsa! You guys have been busy! Happy to hear an update and that you are all alive and doing well! Good luck getting your house fixed up. Don't worry mine is still ugly on the outside too and it's been a year and a half since we got it. Call us next time you are in San Diego, we'd love to see you guys and get the kids together.