It is hard to believe we have been back in our house for a month already. It is a bit confusing talking about the house. Do we call it the new house? The only house Gabriel and Sebastian have memory of is the one in Minnesota, so that is fitting. But for the older three who remember living here, it is the old house. We sometimes say the Minnesota house and Alabama house. This is most clear. Other times we end up with the new, old house. And given the vast amount of work that has taken place in the last month, that fits too.
Renting out a house takes its toll, both on the house and the mental well-being of the landlords. I can’t say I would recommend it, but for us the alternative would have probably been financially detrimental and in the end it allowed us to transition back to Alabama without the hassle of finding a place to live, so we are glad how the last three years have worked out overall. The carpet was old to begin with and our tenants have both had multiple dogs which do not mix well with our allergy prone twins so Mike arranged ahead of time for us to hire some men to pull out all the carpet and prime the floors. That has proved to be some of the best money spent! The floor was all ready for the new flooring to be put down. After looking at different options and reviews, we decided on a cork floor which is supposed to be a better insulator and sound absorber than laminate. (With five little men, sound absorption is good.)
Knowing all the work that needed doing on arrival, my parents offered to meet us to get the boys on the way down so I could work without distraction, but I felt it was important for us to make the move all together. After a few days here though, she offered again to meet me and take the boys back for several days and I gladly took her up on the offer. They enjoyed time with Nonie and Grandpa, riding horses and making a Superman picture for their new room and visiting an orchard, while we washed walls, painted, and cleaned up the yard. I attempted to remove wallpaper from one small room but the wall was tearing to shreds, so we decided that room would be paneled instead. Adam and I also enjoyed a little time to relax together, eating out, visiting antique stores, and even taking in a movie (which I actually stayed awake through for the first time in a while). I also enjoyed five nights of uninterrupted sleep, so in spite of working hard I felt more rested than I have in a long time and finally managed to get rid of the sore throat I’d had for six weeks.
Mom and Dad arrived the following Wednesday with the boys for a working visit. Mom helped manage the boys and house, cleaned blinds and light fixtures, and weeded the front flower bed while Dad and I put in the new floor. The floor wasn’t in from California when they arrived, so Dad and I used the day to panel the younger boys’ room. Just before we were done, we got the call the floor was here. It took a bit of practice getting the floor together, but after a couple of 14 hour work days we got pretty good at it. And we got it all done before Mom and Dad had to leave the following Monday. The trim around the edges still had to be done, but we were pleased with how it turned out.
Once the floor was in place and I got the trim down, we could finally start putting furniture in its place and unpacking some boxes. Slowly the piles of boxes are shrinking, a few pictures are on the wall, dressers have taking there places in the bedrooms and some of the beds are assembled. (I still have yet to find the screws to two of the beds, but I’m sure they will turn up eventually.) Currently Adam and I are working on putting built-in bookshelves in his office, which once done will eliminate a great number of boxes.
We have tomatoes and peppers in the garden. Adam has built a target out of our discarded boxes, outfitted the boys with bows and arrows, and taught them how to shoot them. We have enjoyed the screened in porch a great deal and even though we now have cleared the kitchen table enough to eat on, we choose to eat most of our meals out on the porch.