Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summertime. Almost. And An Anniversary



I'm dreaming of summer...both night dreaming AND day dreaming.  This is my quiet week at work...the week before I officially shut down for a few weeks and soak in the real quiet.  But until then, there are things to be done...paperwork to be completed, files to be filed, emails to be sent, school start-up trips to be planned.

I'm tired and more than ready for a break.  

So today, we decided to play.  Hello, Disneyland!

Our friends from Indiana were visiting the parks, so one of Alex's friends signed us in for the day.  We gave up our annual passes last month after a decade (or two) of having them...the prices kept creeping up and with work and life and the removal of the 3-hour free parking, we found we weren't using them as much as we used to.  

So today was special.  We were only there for about 4 hours and it was lovely.  Crowded, but lovely. I'm excited to miss it and know that we won't be away forever.

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Today is our 32nd wedding anniversary.  I love this picture of us...blurry, half my face, that guy that I like so much laughing.  It's just us.  

We don't have a secret...we've just been blessed.  Raising a houseful of boys is HARD, church work is hard, having a mortgage is hard.  But it's fun to do the journey together...to be in it so long now as to know the way to phrase things to sway the vote your way, to know when to just shrug your shoulders and give in, to look at the clock in the mid-afternoon and know that in a few short hours the 'real' part of our day will begin.  The part that revolves around just being together, sharing a prayer, eating a meal, loving on whoever walks through the door.  

So Happy Anniversary to us.  Here's to 32 more.  

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Possibly Stealing Back Our Own Car


If you have been a long time reader here at a houseful of craziness, then you might remember that we've had a few car stories to tell.

If you are bored and you'd like to refresh your memory, here are a few:









 And hopefully, this will be the last one.

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 Last December, we sold our car for pennies, due to the fact that it needed a new transmission and power steering and tires and, well...she was tired.  And so was my pocketbook.  

I signed over the title, was paid cash and never knew that you were supposed to send in the release of liability.

My bad.

And then a few weeks ago, a letter comes in the mail letting us know our vehicle, which now has been fixed up and sold twice more, is in an impound lot.

And while it's been sold a few times we are still, technically, the legal owners because no one ever registered the car in their own name.  The current owner/driver was pulled over for expired tags and detained for a suspended license...and the car was towed and impounded.  

The thought of what could have happened is too much...so we'll rest in the fact that nothing did. Whew.

The guy we originally sold it to has washed his hands of it.  If we don't pick it up, then it will be auctioned off.  And if that's the case, then we are in the position of reclaiming the car (that we still technically own) back.









I spent a long time at the police department chatting about what we should do.  I couldn't lie to them - I mean, we sold the car after all and I wanted to be honest about that.  And then, while telling the story, I couldn't help but laugh...I mean, who makes this stuff up????

The guy who had bought the car last has a whole lot of clearing up before he can reclaim it.  His license has to be cleared, as does the title of the car changed to his name, insurance brought current and the impound fee paid.  My hope is he is able to do all that and so, we're waiting for the 30-day hold to play out while we decide what to do.  But the PD thinks this will be another case of car abandonment because it'll be more than the price he paid for the car.

The other fun part?  If it's auctioned off for less than what the impound fee is, then we are liable for the difference.  Because...yeah, we still technically own the car.  The other, most likely option - because we don't need the car, is to simply release the liability and back date it to the original date of sale.  That makes the most sense...but nothing we do seems to make much sense, so who knows???

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Opening of the Garden


Last year when we returned from Italy, a few treasures continued to arrive over the summer.  Mainly wine...and really good wine at that.  One of the most fun deliveries was from a small vineyard in Tuscany where we got lost and upon arrival, walked into someone's home thinking it was the tasting room.

Oops.


But once we got yelled at (in Italian, which made it sound gorgeous) and found where we were going, we discovered a wine we loved and in a moment of weakness (or pure joy, however you want to look at it) we had shipped home a magnum.

A four bottle magnum.

We were saving it for something special...and for a time when we had enough people over to not just drink four bottles worth, but enjoy four bottles worth because that's a lotta wine!

Fast forward to mid-May and the opening of the garden, which was so special a party that our besties from Colorado flew in for the weekend.

NOW...here is where the fun part comes in.  See in the picture below, behind the wine glasses?  Not Brian, but the shelves with the dishes on the wall?

Every dish I own?  On the wall?

Shortly after we toasted, there was a LOUD crash and the shelves...those shelves holding all my plates, came crashing (and I mean crashing!) down.

We all stood there for a few seconds in shock.  Dishes, and the sink full of freshly washed glassware, were everywhere.  Some broken...some surprisingly not.

It was...funny.

Like, OH MY, what?  What just happened?  


The damage?

broken plates - 12
broken wine glasses - 2
broken whisky glasses - 3
broken big bowls - 3
broken small bowls - 6
broken coffee mug - 1

I keep describing it as a big Greek wedding, one where everyone smashes dishes...except we aren't Greek and there wasn't a wedding.

And how blessed are we that #1 - there were people here to witness this grand event so the story can live (and grow) forever and #2 - there were people here who jump in and fix things.

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And #3 - that Crate and Barrel delivers.


The bonus?  We all went into a month-long clumsy-fest where we kept breaking things.  I broke 3 more wine glasses, another plate and my favorite coffee mug. That guy that I like so much broke a wine glass and a shoelace.  

Welcome to our life.

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The next day we escaped for the sea and rented a duffy boat for the afternoon.  We packed some snacks, grabbed our peeps and sailed off into the harbor. 

It was so much fun!  Definitely on the list to do again this summer.

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Besides, we have our very own driver - he's working towards his captain's license.  Driving a duffy is a bit below his level of expertise, but that's ok.

I ended up having to take an overnight, last minute trip to Florida for a meeting a few weeks ago.  It wasn't easy - fly all the way across the country, spend the night, go to a 10:00am meeting and then straight to the airport for the flight home.  

I was gone for 44 hours - 12 hours were spent in the hotel, the meeting (and prep) lasted 4 hours and the rest was travel time.

Yawn.

Adventures in watching boys grow up continues with fun texts reporting in about yummy dinners they are cooking.


And others that take time to settle in.

And yet others where we say a prayer and trust.  Typhoons, when you live on an island, are a big deal.


All is well...the typhoon dumped its rain and continued on.  And hello, can we get an AMEN for technology?!

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Monday, June 18, 2018

A Bunch Of Random Stuff and WE BOUGHT A PIZZA OVEN

I'm sitting at my desk (in my pretty home office) and staring at piles and piles of papers.  The school year is over for all but a handful of programs and this is the week I am going to get all caught up...and maybe a little bit of planning ahead for once, before I take a 3-4 weeks off for summer.

The bummer is that no work means no pay, so that is just hard.  But...well, it is what it is and the best part is, after all these years I finally have a much healthier perspective on my work life.  So there's that.  

The best part is the word 'summer'.  The garden had a soft opening and then a real opening and it is going to be a beautiful season.

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Group chats keep us all up to date on the important stuff.  Haha.


The Seniors from Concordia arrived for their turn at dinner in the garden and I made piles of pizzelles for dessert.  Buying a 2nd iron has made things so much quicker...I'm actually, gulp, thinking of ordering a 3rd one.  



That moment when grown-up students (who are like family to us) come back with their not so littles for visits.  What?  Weren't they just the littles themselves?

And that guy that I like so much...what a year he's had.  God keeps throwing things his way and he answers yes and jumps in with both feet.  

I love that about him.

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Mother's Day 2018.  The sun was warm, I saw two boys in person and was able to talk to our one who lives so very faraway.  

And the best gift ever....flours from my boys.  Because...pizza oven.  

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One last Florida work trip with a super quick, I'm finished for the day and have a crazy early flight home, visit with my peeps.  

They make me feel...like me. 

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May brought my birthday, Michael's birthday, Mother's Day, the Senior dinner, graduation, a ton of recitals, a retirement party, and an official opening party for the garden. 

Lots of lists, lots of cooking, lots food, lots of laughter and big talks and little talks and a few tears.  

It's all good.  

Throw in the 'hi, I cooked too much, come over' invitations that have me running full speed (which is quite the sight) across the street for supper.

Lucky, lucky us.

The youngest of our houseful finished his sophomore year of college - WHAT???  His choir went on tour to Hawaii and he had a miserable time.  Not.  He came home tan and tired and retired...no more choir for him.  Next year he's jumping the pond for study abroad and we will have three boys on three different continents.  Not just three different cities or three different states or three different countries...but in true Busch form, we've gotta stress the mama out as much as possible and spread out as much as possible.

But I do love them.

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And then there's this:

So, a while back we had a conversation about pizza ovens.  We've pretty much had that same conversation over and over...ever since summering with our littles on the Italian island of Elba, where Napolean was exiled (lucky him!).  While wandering a village we found a restaurant that had gone out of business decades before and in the middle of the ruins was a beautiful pizza oven. 

I wanted it, but with three little boys, it just didn't fit in our luggage. We walked by every day for a week and I drooled and plotted and cried and it was, along with the leg of prosciutto that I wanted to hide in my suitcase, a no go.

But it started a conversation that went on for years.

That guy that I like so much researched.  And measured.  And researched some more.  And measured some more.  He envisioned a built-in and we just couldn't figure out how that would work with all the different types of parties we host and more importantly, how we want our little garden to feel when we are out there.

One night, a special wine was poured.  One simple click and it was ordered.  

A few weeks later, a fork lift delivered it to our little house on our little street.  But with all that measuring and planning, no one (and there were a few involved in this process) thought to measure the back gate.  

IT DIDN'T FIT.

Uh-oh.

Enter our Turkish neighbor who knows absolutely everything about everything...and if he doesn't know it, he knows a guy who does.  Who needs a tool box (or a blow torch or a ladder or a recipe for homemade olives) if you have Bulent for a neighbor?

The oven was disassembled and then reassembled...all by the light of the moon and away from the prying eyes of our crazy association board members, because even though there is no rule about pizza ovens, they will find a way to add one if need be.  

A pizza oven is a process...an event even.  You need wood...real wood that is untreated.  A fire needs to be built, dough needs to be made, wine needs to be poured.  Our first time using it, I never left the kitchen which goes against everything I believe when it comes to hosting a party.  I couldn't make the pizzas fast enough and because the oven gets to just under 1,000 degrees, the pizzas cook in one minute.

And they're so good, that they got eaten in that amount of time too.

But now we've learned.  We slow it all down.  We not only do pizzas, but we throw whatever we can think of in cast iron pans - from vegetables, baked cheese, berry cobbler, fish, steaks and throw them all out in courses.  It encourages people to slow down, to talk, to not rush...so very European.  

100% worth it.

This is going to be a fun, and delicious, summer.




And hey...did you know my SoCal town has not one, but TWO lumberyards???

Very, very convenient.

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Back to paperwork for me...I'm SO ready for summer.

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Easter 2018


It's Sunday, the week after Easter.  I'm in my typical place...sitting at my kitchen counter on a bar stool.  All the windows are open even though it's a bit chilly (68 today...sorry east coasters) and that guy that I like so much is grilling a whole bunch of random, bottom of the bin veggies and a marinated tri-tip.  I'm drinking a summery aperol spritz and dreaming of long, hot, sunshine-y days.

Summer is coming...I feel it in my bones.

I'm catching up on messages from my boy who lives in China.  They keep me laughing...I really love the way he writes.  I love that we send voice messages and can video chat, though I notice as he settles in and gets busier those become a bit fewer and far between.  And that's the way it should be.  But I do miss him.



The azalea tree in our back yard blooms only once a year and it's the most beautiful thing ever.  Never once have we timed it for Easter Sunday...it's always a few weeks before or a few weeks after and I've tried asking it nicely to cooperate with our schedule and it just doesn't.  Kinda like children...try as you might, they always have their own schedule.  Or maybe that's just the way mine work.

But when it blooms?

WOW.

We had dinner at our friends the other night and if I had to choose a last meal, this would be it.  Or one of them.  Turkish meets Greek meets perfection.  

But more than that...it was a night of friendship.  Stories and laughter and wine and whisky and then a long walk home.  Or at least it felt long...all 50 yards of it.

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I am making a conscious effort to get back on my trail...or at least walk around my lakes, each and every day.  I'm stuck to a computer and a phone and I need to make moving my body a priority...not so much for my physical health (important, I know!) but for my emotional well being.  

I'm just grumpy if I'm all work and no play.  And a grumpy Italian is...well, a grumpy Italian.

Good Friday was a quiet day off for that guy that I like so much and he spent it doing the thing that makes him so happy...he planted.  And planted.  And planted some more.

Our garden this year is more beautiful than ever before and I'm counting down the days to the grand opening party.

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Easter Sunday...4 HUGE services for Michael and we, the fam, decided to go on Saturday night instead.  It was...weird.  Not sure we'll do that again but the service itself was beautiful...but it just didn't feel like Easter.  

I cooked - roasted pork and pesto lasagnes and garlic green beans and a ginormous salad.  Our friends brought roast lamb and potatoes and my sis-in-law brought desserts.  We sat in the garden, my New York niece made a surprise appearance, we had some students over too...and the day was lovely.  

I took one picture and it was one that makes me so happy.  These are my people.

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They hunted eggs and played corn hole and football and I just love filling this little house with people.

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Earlier this week the palm trees came out.  They were growing into the fence and into the bbq and they were, frankly, annoying me to no end.  So enter Alejandro and Juan and out they came.

Thanks, guys!


A new one will be planted soon...a smaller one that will grow big and tall in 20 years or so.  

We'll deal with that then. 

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