A Box at a Time

That’s how I have to pack a house. Yesterday? Three boxes packed. It was progress. I had an assistant helping me out:

An hour later, another “assistant” rummaged through an unclosed box, flinging DVD’s from their cases “Ohhh, CARS! Mama, Dan Zaaaanes! Look, it’s Elmo!”

Shit, this is gonna be much harder than I anticipated. And so today, scanning the living room from my couch, I was overwhelmed with the task of packing with children under my feet and in my arms. Instead of lifting a finger, I snuggled into a comforter covered in dog hair, stuffing poking out through a rip in the fabric like a cottony hemorrhoid, and managed a 20 minute nap.

How do I think I’ll be able to effectively pack 11 years of life into cardboard boxes? I mean, really…I can never even manage to enjoy a perfectly steeped cup of steaming tea. Always it sits, forgotten, for half an hour before I recall even preparing it. Ashamed of my failed attempt at multi-tasking (yet again), I cannot pour it down the drain. It takes three gulps and I finagle a millimeter of a smile at the surprising bit of lukewarmness left in the mug.


At one dollar over the opening bid, the home we’ve toured (twice), placed an offer on, did embarrassing weekly drive-bys in the minivan, waited 7 weeks to hear our offer was declined, and then finally followed to foreclosure is OURS. Purchased at public auction “on the courthouse steps” in this insane real estate market where one person’s terrible loss is our incredible gain. It was a bargain that we are still in shock over.

We’d scouted out an auction a week prior to “learn the trade” and thank the stars we did. I stayed home with the girls, too anxious to attend the auction, while Jason waited with a handful of investors and a spectator or two until one of the auctioneers opened the bidding.

“You want me to start with your property first?” she asked Jason.


“ReconTrust property number xxxxxxxx on address in Anthem, AZ. Opening bid (dollar amount). You want to bid? It’s a dollar over if so.”

“Yes. “

“Okay, (dollar amount). Going once, going twice, sold to third party”.

Done. That easy. That quick. Surreal. The house is ours. For $13,000 less than the already low-ball original offer we made that was declined when the home was still on the market. Suckers!


I still think it. I still believe that this house is going to POOF! magically turn me into a clean, organized, at ease mega-mom who cooks healthy meals and keeps the floors shiny. The Fly-Lady of mamahood. I believe it here (points to head). I don’t believe it here (points to heart).

It’s just a tract home here in the neighborhood. Our dreams of a custom green solar-paneled sustainable home on our acre of desert is on hold. Indefinitely. But, it’s a home that we no longer have to lease. A home in which we will finally hang family photos and mull over paint colors like The Good Life, Her Majesty, and Truffle (which could form a sentence in and of itself: The Good Life, Her Majesty, includes Truffles). And unseal boxes that have been in storage for four years.

What I’m going to love about the house: an extra bedroom, an office that is far from the great room so I don’t have to see the mess of computer equipment, a laundry room that you don’t have to pass through on your way from the garage, a big back yard (LOL, for Phoenix, okay?), a split floor plan, zoned A/C, a cheesy gas fireplace, granite countertops, and those amazing little pull-out drawers in every kitchen base cabinet.

What I’m supercalifragilistic about? Tile and wood floors everywhere except bedrooms. Which means bodily excretions of children and animals can be easily mopped up. Which means, perhaps, potty training Kaia can finally happen with true focus and without constant carpet scrubbing.

Is it weird to say that when we hunted for homes, one of the main aspects I looked for was that it would be comfortable, accommodating, and welcoming enough for my next child’s birth? Good light here, big enough room here for a birth tub there, rooms far enough apart so that kids can sleep through labor, roomy master bedroom, TILE FLOORS.

******************************************************************************************Ou Our lease here ends in June so we’ll be moving slowly. What will I miss about this house? Not much besides the transom windows, the glass blocks in the kitchen, the big bar top, the chucky solid, stained wood door, the double doors to the master.

And the room in which my daughter was born – curtains drawn – on that balmy summer morning almost one year ago.

Note to self: frozen placenta moves with us.


15 Comments Add yours

  1. Ninotchka says:

    WOW. That is fantastic. What luck! Happy moving. 🙂

  2. Jane says:

    Soooo excited for you!

  3. Suemonster says:

    Im hysterical . Frozen placenta moves with us ??!!

    Your adorable beyond words ……

    I am a MASTER house packer ….could do it for you in a day ……too bad I dont live near you . Id let you have that cup of tea , while I packed your house .

    No worries , Id put the placenta on ice .

    LMAO ….

    Write some more please ..I need more laughs like this!


  4. Awake says:

    So happy for you and your family. Although I don’t envy the packing (my husband and I said we’re never moving again for loathe of packing), especially with the kidlets running around ~ but it will be fun for you all to “re-discover” what’s been in storage.

    May your new home be filled with peace, joy and comfort.

  5. Doulala says:

    Painting party here we come!

  6. Whoo Hoo! Very exciting! And it sounds like you got a fabulous deal. But yeah, I hear ya on leaving behind the place where you birthed your daughter. We aren’t planning on moving anytime soon (the market is just too awful here, and our house is currently valued for less than we paid), but I think about that too. It’s a very special memory.

    And has it really almost been a YEAR?!?!?! How time flies (I say with my almost SIX week old sleeping snugly on my chest in a wrap) …

    Good luck with the packing and moving. What worked best for us last time was to hire someone to move the furniture and we handled all the “little stuff.” You know. The stuff you think will take hardly any time after you’ve moved the “big stuff” and then you end up being up until 4 AM three nights in a row in a desperate frenzy to get it all moved. By hiring someone to handle the “big stuff,” it let us focus on the “little stuff” — which isn’t so little after all.

  7. clmama says:

    Aw, love this, Leigh! Congrats on your upcoming MOVE! Baby #3 in the works, too, maybe? (LOL) You are awesome!

  8. this is so exciting, although yes, the mechanics of moving suck. But a new place for everything! yay! Hang in there, one box at a time…

  9. Connie says:

    Congratulations on your new home.

    Always exciting when all things fall into place exactly as they were meant to be. Obviously you were meant to have the home for the great price you acheived it for.

    Yeah don’t forget the placenta. You may be leaving the place you birthed but you can plant the placenta in your new home to bring the awesome energy with you.

    Things come and go but your experiences are forever yours. Your light is truly shining through.

  10. bella says:

    I’m happy for you, to be moving into this space that can be more fully “your’s”, occupied by you and your family with a new kind of energy.
    It makes me happy to think of you unpacking, settling in, letting the rooms come to life.
    I hope your years in this new home are rich and full, half what you’ve always wanted, half mystery that no one can ever prepare or plan for, just open to.
    love to you.

  11. mb says:


    You all so deserve this newness, this yourness, wiping up pee with a rag from a hard surface. You. Deserve. It. ALL. So happy for your beautiful family to expand in your new space. I can feel how peaceful and bright it will be because your brilliant heart it there.

    Can’t wait to come stay with you!!! I love you so.

  12. i’m so happy for you. congratulations and best of luck w/ the packing. it will get done – one box at a time.
    for the record, i have the same problem w/ forgetting my tea. i almost always drink it lukewarm or even cold. 😉

  13. Sarah-Ji says:

    Congratulations! You guys must have lucky stars at your service or something!

    And you, me and Amy can start the Lukewarm Tea Club!


  14. Phoenix says:

    Congrats on the new house!! I cannot wait to have a house to call my own. To know that any choice to make about fixing up the house, you don’t have to get it approved or worry about how easily it can go back to normal.

    And I too have the tea problem. In fact, I can take it further. Yesterday I made a glass of juice, the powdered kind you mix into water. (I think its fruity tang stuff.) I mixed it, stirred, and then found the glass sitting on the counter still full, an hour later. How does one walk away from a drink that doesn’t even need to cool down?!

    Good luck on that packing! (And even more good luck on unpacking–thats always the hardest for me!)

  15. Jen H. says:

    Add me to the lukewarm tea club! Yesterday morning I made a mental note to have a big glass of water with lunch to help alleviate a headache. I didn’t get it for myself until 6:30 p.m. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad!

    Congrats on the new house – what an amazing deal you got! Suckers indeed, for turning down your original offer. I can’t believe how bad the market has become in some US cities. There are hordes of Canadians swooping in and buying vacation and investment properties in some places. Arizona is appealing for that, but the distance is daunting.

    Can’t wait to see pics of the new place! Good luck with the move – I can’t imagine trying to do it with the two girls in tow. Hope you have lots of help…:)

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