Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What color is your house?

We have spent our first few days back in Pensacola catching up with old friends, visiting the resturants that we missed and getting ready to move into our house. If all goes well we should finally be closing later today.

The kids were less than impressed with our new house. Rowan threw his arms up, looked around and declared, "This is disgusting". I assured him that the first thing on our to-do list was to paint the board and batten exterior an acceptable color-something different than dark aqua green which currently covers every inch of the house from the roof to the ground including trim, window frames, gutters and the foundation-and there would be no bugs in his room by the time he has to sleep in it. The rest of the day was spent formulating a plan for the whirlwind of renovations that needed to start immediately.

I have spent as much time in the past few weeks searching for the perfect exterior paint color as I have folding laundry-which is a lot of time. We finally decided on a craftsman theme of dark mocha with creme trim, a perfect compliment to the brown window frames on the existing house. (Imagine how that looks with the current aqua?!) We thought the decision had been made until we looked at rhe house next door, one that we hadn't paid too much attention to before, and saw tan and white siding. Of course the plans for our house would put it in another class from that one when we were done working our magic, however, I didn't want to be accused of being a copycat. It was back to the drawing board.
In a paniced call to my mother earlier that morning asking for ideas and inspiration for what all-of-a-sudden felt like the biggest decision of my life, she assured me that I couldn't go wrong with green-which has always been my favorite color. Thankfully we happened to stop at a nearby park to let the kids run off some steam and that's where we found the perfect exterior color. Across the street stood a beautiful two story federalist home with columns around the beautiful southern style porch. There were two cars in the driveway, a sign that someone was home.

"I'll be right back," I said to Dave.

Certainly someone with such a beautiful home would know her colors-or the number of the designer who chose them. (It was that kind of neighborhood.)

I walked confidently up the stairs to the door and knocked.

"I am so sorry to bother you but your house is beautiful and I just have to know the colors," I said.

I assured the woman at the door, who appeared to be in her late 60's, that our new house was in desperate need of a makeover. If she didn't mind I wanted to copy her paint colors. So much for not being a copycat huh. She asked me to wait a minute while she checked her file and came back with a neatly printed card that said Avacado Green, Dark Night and Nacre. She wished me luck with the move. I thanked her from the bottom of my heart. We loaded up the kids from their trip to the park and headed straight to Sherwin-Williams.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Warm Welcome

We're packed up and on the road again. Stopping for the night in Jacksonville was the best last-minute plan we could have made, offering so much more than simply a place to rest our heads.

The night before we left VA was filled with tears. Excitement about the pending move turned to fear. Saying goodbye became reality. I offered words of encouragement saying just about anything to ease the pain that the kids were feeling-you'll make so many new friends, our house is across the street from the beach, we'll never move again (I hope). And then I explained what I see as the greatest benefit of being a military family. Being transient offers the blessing of having dear friends in every corner of the country-and world- who welcome you with open arms despite months, even years, and miles of seperation. My friend Lisa's words below taken from a Facebook post from this morning are a testament to just how special this is. (fyi..The gator she refers to was a big rubber alligator that she hid under our pillow with a note, "Welcome to Florida." I'll get her back.)

"So there was a Dermody sighting in Florida...w/ gator, dog, scared kitty hiding in the garage, crab, 6 kids and two crazy big kids, lugging it all cross-country again! It was a sweet bday surprise from Jennifer Georges Dermody and Dave Dermody to me and as with all our friends, the door is always open...even if we're not here. But something else is confirmed in me again...the hope that in moving, all will turn out well again. And as the worn, and traveled-weary group trooped in last night in search of sleep and food and drink, hurting from leaving great people, they too were reminded that the world is small and the good one's you'll always see again. I saw it in the magnetic hugs our boys had to be pried apart with this morning and in the uber-silliness of the girls jumping back into old BFF land...the quick sharing of yearbooks from Sigonella and old family photos...family, because our military friends are our family. Glad we could ease the pain...and the best is yet ahead for you! Much ♥...Lisa."

Thank you Lisa. I hope you have a wonderful 40th birthday today. I love you friend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Florida or Bust

At this very moment I am crammed in the passenger's seat of my Suburban. My iPad is strategically propped on top of the pile of junk on my lap which includes a bag of Legos, stuffed animals and books, the snack bag filled with string cheese and Pringles and my beautiful leather tote bag filled with paint color chips, floorplan designs and closing documents. I get to sit with all the extra bags-the ones that no kids want to deal with. We are on a road trip. Well, it feels like a road trip but it is actually a PCS move. For the non-military folks out there that stands for Permanent Change of Station. We're headed to our new assignment in Florida's Sunny Gulf Coast.

We left early this morning with grand plans-to do the entire drive in one day-all 17 hours of it. The combination of getting a late start and realizing after the first 20 minutes of the ride that the littlest kids were going to drive us completely crazy asking "how much longer?", there was no way we could pull that off. So, while I got a half hour of sleep under this pile of crap on my lap, Dave called our friends in Jacksonville, FL and asked if they minded company. Lisa, my dear friend from our tour in Italy and fellow Navy spouse, who happens to be the best hostess ever, replied with some version of "you need a comfortable place to rest your heads and a good meal. We'll wait up for you." Anyone who would welcome a family of nine at a moment's notice, along with their dog, cat and hermit crab is a saint. Lisa certainly fits into that category. (Dave did mention the pets Lisa...didn't he?)

I had a few minutes between bathroom breaks, a blown tire in NC, and stopping for gas to check email and Facebook. A friend posted on my page, "I can't wait to read your first update when you get settled." That got me thinking and then motivated to write about our adventure-moving a family of nine half way across the country yet again, buying and renovating what I hope is going to be our forever house and integrating our crazy, big, spirited, loving, athletic, smart, beautiful, family into the beachside community that we will soon call home. This is a pretty exciting time for the family. Until tomorrow, ciao.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Not Sure if I Should Be Ashamed or Proud

I cleaned up the mess from opening Christmas presents in record time this year. I think it was partly because of my new method. Santa left his gifts in the family room, while all of the nicely wrapped presents from Mom and Dad waited in my nice room. Surprisingly, opening presents in two different rooms did not create double the mess, it made managing the miles and miles of ribbon and wrapping paper manageable.

A couple of days after Christmas was trash and recycling day. It might seem strange but I love piling the trash and buckets of bottles, old newspapers and food packaging by the curb every week. Every time I get rid of stuff-donations to the thrift store, garbage, recycling-I feel like a little weight is lifted. Of course I just fill the space with more stuff, but purging still feels good.

I dragged the two cans from the side of the house to the street. On the left was our garbage can. It was light. and easy to move. The handle is broken off so we rigged it with an old dog leash-which actually makes it easier to pull-but looks really pathetic. The recycling bin was really heavy, and overflowing with paper. I placed it toward the right side so that there would be enough room for the rest of the pile which was stashed in the landscape trailer that we keep in our driveway. The HOA hates us for it because it's ugly-but we don't pay too much attention to the notes they leave on our door. 

As I lugged bag after bag of used wrapping paper, perfectly stacked Barbie and Fisher Price boxes neatly bound with string, and electronics's Styrofoam packaging to the curb, I created a neat and organized pile-well mountain-of recyclable waste. It was beautiful I thought, especially in comparison to the single, lowly can of trash next to it that would undoubtedly sit in a landfill for the next hundreds or thousands of years. I was proud of my dedication to recycling instead of discarding recyclable materials as trash. Then I started thinking about what other people would think about my pile. Would they see it as an accomplishment or a failure? Should I be proud of the huge pile of recycling that I saved from the landfill? Or should I be ashamed by the amount of waste my huge family creates every Christmas?

I have more to say-and a picture of the pile-but it is so late I have to sleep. I will write the rest tomorrow. Good night.