And now a new water heater.

You know what sucks? Not being able to take a decent hot shower because the hot water runs out really fast (like less than 10 minutes).

You know what sucks even more? Discovering the hot water heater is…23 years old. And it was last serviced four years ago.

You know what’s cool? Tom is handy enough to know how to drain the sediment.

You know what sucks? Draining the sediment didn’t help.

You know what sucks the most? Discovering a slow-ish leak four days later after Tom had gone to bed. So I hooked up the drainage hose to a bucket and put something under the drip. I decided to check the bucket before I went to bed and it already had 2″ in it so I moved the hose into a 25-gallon garbage bin and went to bed, figuring it would be safe. But it apparently turned into more of a spray overnight and by the time Tom got up and checked at 5:30 the 25-gallon bucket was overflowing. We have some wet carpet—unfortunately some is in a place we can’t easily get to and dry (under 300# of loaded shelving) but nothing was damaged. And thankfully we got someone here early and it was a simple fix. (Apparently due to the age and type of tank, you have to unscrew/rescrew the tap a few times to get the gaskets aligned right.)

You know what’s the best? Our landlord, who is now replacing the water heater.

So if you’re keeping track, he’s replaced the garage door, repainted Katie’s room, has planned to replace a few windows, has replaced the kitchen/dining floor, and is now replacing the water heater…

Welcome to today’s hell.

A gift to Katie from a well-meaning aunt. While Katie does love puzzles, of course she doesn’t have the attention span for this (hell, I barely do) but she really wants to color it. If it was up to me I’d just throw it in the trash (well I’m not an idiot, I’d give it away). But guess who will end up doing it all?? Her face just about sums it up for me too. 😂


A friend is going to come help Friday.

Ugh. Again.

When you finally realize that the fabric softener explosion from two weeks ago actually did run down the floor vent and came out through the duct and then dripped through the basement ceiling tiles and down the wall (and ledge!) and all over a plastic storage container (it’s going in the garbage because I have literally ZERO patience to clean it), all over a pile of Legos, and then pooled on the floor.

This is NOT what I wanted to come home to.

I came home from Sam’s Club and was unloading the car when I smelled something…odd…out of place… But I couldn’t put my finger on it. Unloaded some more. Sniffed. Hmmm. It wasn’t a bad smell but it was overpowering. No idea. I thought I’ll have to explore the house when I’m done unloading and then I happened to look into the laundry room… Oh shit.


The stupid washer is off balance and jostles things around quite badly. I forget (since our own washer was never this bad) and left it too close to the edge after starting a load earlier. 😣😭 On the bright side, it smelled Downy fresh. 

Of course Tom was worried that it went down the vent, but thankfully most of it seeped under the rug.

And very little actually went down the vent.


And me being the idiot I apparently was this morning, grabbed nice kitchen towels INSTEAD OF THE RAGS RIGHT BEHIND ME IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM. (I did remember the rags after the first batch of kitchen towels )

The rug was a total loss—it wouldn’t fit in the washer and it’s too cold to hose off outside. 

I spent about a half hour cleaning and wiping the spatter off the walls, doors, and floor (the spots made it way out into the other room and up the garage door). Annoyingly, blue fabric softener stains (ugh). 

On a positive note, that load of towels was the softest load of laundry I’ve ever felt in my life. 

Yes, that’s slime on the ceiling.

Welcome to my morning. 

Owen threw it too high then tried to clean it with… Are you ready??… A nerf gun, a folder, and a coloring book.


I left it all day so he could clean it when he got home. Thankfully it came right off with a magic eraser. 

Thanks, Ecobee, we know. 

Our A/C died overnight but we didn’t really realize it until about 10am when we started moving around for the day. After a text to the landlord, it was a rush to close all the blinds and put up some curtains on the sliding door to block as much sun as possible. (It helped, but eventually got to 88° by the time they got here to fix it at 6pm.) It was actually somewhat nicer outside in the shade as there was a slight breeze. But our smart thermostat let us know what was going on: 


I couldn’t do this again if I tried for a hundred years.

I was trying to toss the ball over the railing. I watched as it went and saw it hit the top of the railing so I knew I didn’t make it over—I instantly recoiled thinking it was going to smash into the tile floor and break something and I didn’t want to see it. But nothing happened. No noise. No smashing. Huh? What happened?

Look closely…


Do you see it? 


We are bad doggie parents. 

We had to take Maggie in for a non-emergency emergency appointment. I’m glad I’d already researched local vets and had picked one… And that they could get us in within the hour.

We’re always a little lax on cutting her nails. Tom actually attempted it a few weeks ago before our move but hit the quick on one and it bled and bled and he obviously stopped and didn’t finish them.

Well, before then, I’d noticed one was getting very long and starting to curl around back towards her pad and I know I mentioned it but it got forgotten. Then the move happened, then vacation, etc. I noticed her licking and chewing on one foot but didn’t think much of it. Until this week and I rolled her over to look at her foot and OMG that nail had curled around and was growing INTO HER PAD.

Oh the horror and guilt we felt… We immediately cut the nail as best we could (we’d actually luckily unpacked that box) and it was bleeding a bit and we wanted to get it checked out to make sure it was okay.

The vet’s office was awesome. They gave her an exam, cut the rest of her nails, and gave us some antibiotic wipes. They said it wasn’t bad at all. (And in fact, it was pretty much healed by the next morning, so we likely could have skipped the appointment but of course we felt better going.)

Even though it was a regular appointment I was steeling myself for the cost. And it was only $59. It was $58 for the exam and $1 for the antibiotic wipes. Complimentary nail clip, complimentary tick pill. So we have a great vet now!!

And this is why we can’t seem to make progress.

Apparently they never put anything heavier than Kleenex on the hall closet shelves. All I’m putting on them is regular hall closet stuff like shampoos, lotions, cleaning products, wipes, towels, etc. 😣 THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T GET ANYTHING DONE. We have to keep stopping to fix shit. (And in this case I have to have Tom fix it and he’s obviously working and has a huge list of other stuff to get to that’s more important…) So now it looks worse then it did in the last photo because I had to take everything off two whole shelves. 



OMG this house. THIS HOUSE.

Ugh. UGH.

I knew this house wasn’t perfect (I don’t think we’ve had a perfect house yet) but it’s always SOOO surprising the little things that are annoying as hell once you actually move in and start trying to unpack.

Here, it’s like the past tenants (actually the owners) didn’t actually live here and use things. Burnt out lights, outlets that don’t work, a ceiling fan so unbalanced the chains jingle loudly on every rotation, cabinet doors that can’t open because the fridge is too high (they actually hacked away part of the bottom of one cabinet so they could open the door halfway), and the fridge placed badly (the spot isn’t big enough for newer fridges) so that one side door can’t fully open and the nearby drawers and cabinets can’t fully open (and there’s obviously no other place to have it).

Let’s see. What else.

Katie’s “touched up” pink room looked like this:

[Note: Long story short, they’re coming to repaint. The owner had no idea what it looked like. His painter used the old paint and when it was wet it matched.]

The living room was “touched up” in the same manner:

Behind the stove (which we had to pull out because they left it unplugged):

The owners “cleaned” (I’m guessing just a basic surface clean) but there seemed to be YEARS worth of grime and food bits stuck on every surface and into the stove crevices. I really didn’t expect to have to deep clean my kitchen… But I mean, look at this. Barf. /shudder I literally almost vomited trying to clean this.

The cabinets and drawers were also all sticky and had disgusting peeling cracked liner on them. We pulled off some of the liners because they were more disgusting then the shelves underneath…but both were still sticky. It was at this point I decided to hire someone…who spent THREE HOURS (with help from her daughter) deep cleaning a 10×10 kitchen. Yikes, I know. (Mad props to my awesome neighbor who had a cleaning lady who could come ASAP.)

Moving on.

The MBR closet racks look good but are somewhat useless in practice. None are tall enough for my dresses, the door can’t open all the way when filled with clothes, and there’s a useless knee-high shelf—I was excited to see a shelf but if you hang clothes on the rod above it, they reach the shelf. The light was also super old, not bright in any sense, and made a loud humming noise.

There’s about 164 different types of light switches, dimmers, slides, knobs, timers, etc., none of which are where you’d expect them to be and all of which are old.

The washer is nice, but…more cleaning required.

Every single outlet is sideways. [Note: I’ve learned that this is apparently an Illinois thing.]

Whoever stained the kitchen cabinets just left the appliances in place so the sides of everything are stained as well (which you can also see in that disgusting stove pic above).

Whoever stained the privacy fence didn’t protect the windows so there are tiny stain dots on them which we’ll have to clean because it will drive me insane to look out through them for three years.

We were happy to see they left a hose and reel. Except when we went to use it we saw it was a water-powered reel that was broken and completely useless so now we have to get rid of it.

They left a crap ton of leftover tiles, wood flooring, etc. in a jumbled mess in the basement which we get to clean up if we want to use the space.

There’s an annoying step on the first level (seriously, whoever designed it was an idiot—there is NO good reason for the step) that not only is annoying but is also slightly higher than a normal step height and is constantly causing us issues. Owen even noticed it was higher than normal.

The stairwell to the basement is a 180° switchback so it’s impossible to get anything big (like a refrigerator or a couch) down there.

There are about four different type of blinds throughout the house. Nothing matches. And some windows don’t have blinds at all. Same with curtain rods. Some rooms have them (but they’re not even basic curtain rods), some don’t.

The vents in the MBR are placed so that our king bed/head board/frame and/or nightstand sits directly on top of it—not over it, like we could use a vent deflector, but actually ON it—so that to avoid that (it’s too heavy) we have to put the bed right up against the wall (which we learned won’t work because every time you roll over it runs against the wall and makes noise) or pull it out about 8″ away from the wall which takes away walkway space and makes lots of unusable room. As it is now, we managed to get the bed placed beside the vents but then our nightstands are about 8″ away from the bed.

And silly/minor things like this:

Tub parts just sitting in the tub:

Fixes by a homeowner who isn’t handy (on the front porch):

A bunch of these door stops are missing. So we either replace them/ask for the landlord to replace them or risk ruining doors.

Missing storm door lock.

The master bedroom closet light that is so dim it’s useless. Now with bugs and a loud humming noise! (We’ve already bought the replacement light.)

I spent probably an hour cleaning the sliding door tracks. They were SO crusted with gunk I’m surprised the door even opened. I was using vinegar and baking soda, a toothbrush, toothpicks, and probably a whole roll of paper towels to get it all out.

Oh! I forgot! They fixed a few broken tiles and apparently also regrouted the whole floor…but did it wrong and it just crumbles like dirt. Fail! [Note: the landlord has decided to replace the entire floor with wood. It was too short notice to do it while we were planning to be gone so he’s going to have it done over Christmas while we’re away.]

And there is one single outlet in the entire garage. One. So we have an electrician coming and all I see are dollar signs…


This is a brilliant moving hack…

Even more so if you actually remember to keep all the sticker sheets so you can label all the rooms at the new house. 😣 Oh well, at least all the boxes have dots and they should be able to easily find the kitchen, dining room, MBR, Pink bedroom, living room, and garage. 😂


[Note: The movers loved the stickers. One guy just couldn’t get over the idea. He took the sheet with him to show people. 😂]

Moving is never fun, but this one has the potential to be awful.

The moving company only sent two people to pack us so there’s no way in hell they can finish in the allotted two days (it took one guy an entire day just to pack the kitchen—and he missed a bunch!). Tom called them and they said they’d try to send more people for day two. Nope, they didn’t. When they left at 4:30, they hadn’t even touched the basement. So now the plan is to have two people come back Friday and pack WHILE THE TRUCK IS BEING LOADED. And yes, you read that right: Friday. So we get to live out of boxes and suitcases until then. It’s a total cluster.

Listen, I know it’s their business and you would expect they have lots of experience with estimating, but it’s OUR house and OUR stuff and we’ve seen it packed and moved 4-5 times now so you’d think you’d put a little more stock in what we tell you—and we told them more than once we need a crew of at least four. 

This has FAIL written all over it and you can bet it will be reflected on our post-move survey. They could still turn it around but I don’t have high hopes. 

A few pics of the current status of our house: 


Not a good start to N Chicago.

I woke up to this series of texts from Tom:

After a bunch more texts about calling roadside and having to wait and the guy going to the wrong exit first…I got this.

Yeah. Turns out the fuel evaporation line was clogged which prevented him from filling the gas tank. He ended up getting into Gurnee about 6pm instead of the 3pm as we planned. So, not a great start. It could have been worse, though, so we’re still thankful (can you imagine if the truck couldn’t have been fixed and they had to send a new truck and everything had to be unloaded and reloaded?!).

Surprise! Today was Katie’s last day of Pre-K!

Yes, I said surprise. I had NO idea whatsoever—I just assumed they finished next week along with the rest of the school.

So, I dropped her off and a short while after I got home, I got a text from the class assistant (our friend) saying Whoops, they must have dropped the ball and forgot to send home the sheet about today being water day and could I bring a suit and towel for her. So I ran back to the school and dropped the stuff off and put her sunscreen on (they are not allowed to do it). Water day should have been my big clue since we also did it last year, but my brain is going in so many different directions that it didn’t even occur to me that water day was the last day of school. So I went to pick her up and saw her walking out with her art folder AND IT STILL DIDN’T HIT ME until the teacher said something about it being the last day and they enjoyed having Katie… Huh? What? Ahhhh, then it all became clear. Of course I was thinking WHAT THE HELL?!?! How could I not have known that today was the last day? Well, it wasn’t on the school calendar (and I live by my calendar). So I was bummed I didn’t have teacher gifts ready…so I will take them in Monday when I drop off some educational stuff for the classroom (donations as we purge).

Phew! Our house hunting saga is over!

I thought I had posted about this but looking back, I apparently didn’t.

About two weeks ago, our agent just sent us an unlisted listing—a client of hers who she happened to be sitting with. It looked really good…not perfect but good. A four bedroom/three bath, 3-car garage, ranch. Pets okay. Finished basement. On a dead end street. With a yard. In the approximate area we want. And he would hold it for us. And they’re military. And did I mention it had a THREE-CAR GARAGE? And it was a RANCH??!?!

But he wanted to start the rent at $2400 (already over budget) and raise it the next two years. We tried to tell ourselves the money would be fine. BECAUSE IT’S A RANCH WITH A 3-CAR GARAGE AND FINISHED BASEMENT.

We got more pictures that night (of course, her text came in at 11pm our time so there was no going to bed then) and our agent said she’d ask about the rent. But the more we looked at it and talked about it, it seemed really good. So of course we thought there has to be a catch because the odds of something good just dropping into our laps like this is not what happens to us. So we rushed to get a friend in to check out the house and take pics for us (our agent couldn’t be the one to do that because of stupid real estate rules so we HAD to have someone else do it). And there were some strange things about it, but overall they were all workable because DID I MENTION IT WAS A 3-CAR GARAGE RANCH?!?!

Well, it turns out the whole thing was a debacle and a big fat fail. I can’t even tell you all the details because I think I’m blocking it from my brain, but basically, they were total turds and apparently the wife didn’t know the husband was planning on renting it? Or they were just casually thinking of renting it when our situation popped up so they tried to make it work but it didn’t (we think they were going to move to something cheaper while trying to make money on us so they didn’t have anywhere planned to go). So when we ended up being serious and asking about a few minor things (an above-stove microwave instead of the countertop one, a garage door opener for the third garage, leaving the carpet they wanted to replace but replacing the kitchen linoleum instead) they freaked out and said they weren’t going to rent. GRRR. I’m sure that saved us from future nightmares (because OMG there was some freaky stuff in that house, but not freaky enough to overlook it being a ranch with a 3-car garage). So needless to say we were really bummed.

We knew we had house hunting time scheduled, but we were still getting paranoid about getting something decent because houses are literally only on the market for HOURS, maybe a few days at most. And rentals that take pets are, of course, rare. So we knew we may have to act quickly if something we really liked came up.

So, fast forward two weeks and we happen upon a listing in Zillow that is nowhere else. Long story short, it was somehow mislabeled as an apartment instead of a house and we still aren’t quite sure how we ran across it. Call our agent, get some details, get more pics, yada yada, looks great, but we have to rush because two other people are set to see it later that week so if we want it we have to MOVE. So we beg our lovely local friend Scott to give us a Facetime walkthrough…which he graciously did…and we really liked it. So rush rush rush to arrange everything, deal with the owner (through our agent) who is not using an agent himself so that’s SO MUCH FUN (not)…and a bunch of real estate drama later we have a house! YIKES! We will still go up later this month to actually see it in person (though it’s ours at this point regardless) and register the kids for school and all that fun stuff but we can breathe a sigh of relief now…

Google earth shots—look at that yard! And how flat it is! HEAVEN!!!!

The neighbor’s fence. We will have two sides of a fence. :lol:


This is a living area/dining room. If our table fits nicely in the eat-in kitchen this will all be living space. I’m also thinking this is where my new tall Christmas tree will be going… ;)


Not quite the kitchen I was hoping for, though it is nice and I do like the wraparound counter and we will hopefully have room for at least two barstools and this will be the first time ever we’ve had a backsplash!

    Another living space—not quite sure how the TV will work because we won’t be putting it there.

Look at all the natural light! And it looks out onto the back yard!

The guest room! We thought it was the master but during the walk-through we learned otherwise.  

When we were watching the walk-through, Katie was sitting with us and when they got to the pink bedroom she exclaimed “That’s my room!!” There are four bedrooms (all upstairs). The basement has an office (or room without a closet), a HUGE storage room and separate utility room, and a decent sized finished area with room for a play area…and a pool table (!!) and big pool hall light that are staying. (I am sure we will end up using it, but Tom is already planning on building a cover for it to make me a craft table or something.) There was also a swing hanging from the ceiling, so Katie was VERY excited about that. Tom told her it would be going with them, but I said we could surely put one up now that we know where it can go! I don’t think there will be room for the bounce house, but at this house we can use it IN THE YARD!

So overall we’re happy. It’s a big house (2700sf) on a flat street with sidewalks and we have a long flat driveway. We have a big front yard, side yard, and back yard (Tom is already thinking about what mower he’s going to upgrade to since our little electric one won’t cut it—pun not intended but it was too good to edit out). We are under two miles from both the Primary (PK/K) and Elementary (1-3) schools and just under three miles from the Intermediate school (4-5). The schools will take some getting used to as they are HUGE! The PK/K alone is about 700 students (about the size of Owen’s entire elementary PK-5) and the Elementary is about 1700! YIKES. One small thing I’m bummed about is that Owen and Katie will never attend the same school—she will be in K when he’s in 3rd and then she will move to that building for 1st but he will be in the next building! GRRR! I guess that’s a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but right now I just envision it being an annoyance. Oh well, it will all be a new adventure for sure!