Thursday, February 25, 2010

Should we stay or should we go?

This blog might change – from a blog about being a working mom to a blog about being a working mom living in another country.  Nothing will happen quickly but it IS a possibility… Let me back up a bit.

When I was 23, my girlfriend and I had just graduated college (yes – I was on the 5 year plan) and decided to stuff some backpacks full of clothing and head to Europe. We spent a little over two months being vagabonds – we traveled to Greece, Italy, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Netherlands, France and Spain.  I was in love – not with a man but with the amazing, eye-opening experience of being in different countries, learning about different cultures, languages and people.  I had been bitten by the travel bug.

A year or so after I got back, I met my husband.  On the first night we spoke, he told me about a 6 month trip he had taken from California to Guatemala and back and how amazing it was.  I was smitten – and jealous!  Less than year after we started dating, the NEED to travel was hitting us hard. We realized that neither of us had seen much of the US so we decided to quit our jobs and spend a few months camping across the US (oh to be young with no responsibilities… but I digress!). 

Since then, we have continued to travel together and with our son who is now 5. However, two of my goals in life are to learn another language (fluently) and to live in another country. The more that I thought about it, the more that I realized I should do both at the same time. 

My husband and I have toyed with the idea of selling everything and moving to another country for a while.  We went to Costa Rica on a fact-finding trip thinking that we might move there. However, it just didn’t seem like the right time.  Then the housing market blew up in our face and selling everything didn’t seem like much of an option.  We went to Panama last year and really felt at home.  We told ourselves that when the housing market got better, we would pack up and go.  I even approached my boss about it and asked if I could work from home from there.  She said that she was fine with it as long as I had easy access to an airport.  All the stars were starting to align. 

Now, the housing market hasn’t really jumped back up but it doesn’t seem to be in the gutter either. So what is our motivation?  My husband just got hit with a 10% pay cut.  Add that to the cut in bonuses that happened last year and it’s a pretty hefty dent in our monthly income. We’ve started thinking seriously again about making the move and have come up with a plan… 

We are going to bust our butts in the month of March to finish all the house projects that we have started. We don’t have much – we can pull it all off in the 30 day timeline we’ve given ourselves.  We will then have a few real estate agents come in and tell us what we could sell our house for and, barring that, what we could rent it for.   If we can do either without taking a hit then we’re out of here.  Of course everything takes time. I don’t see an actual move until July or so – but it IS a possibility.

I’ve looked into schools for my son. I’ve looked into flights to NY (my office). I’ve looked into rental houses/apartments for our initial living situation until we decide if/where we want to buy.  At this point it’s all a matter of pulling the trigger.  Will we chicken out? Will our house be worth nothing?  Will we be able to make it work?  I would love to hear from someone who has done the same thing – or who knows someone who has done the same thing!

Friday, February 19, 2010

My cat has pets

Yesterday morning, my husband, the kid and I were all sitting at the kitchen counter enjoying a peaceful breakfast when I heard the cat crunching on his food. This was particularly surprising since I had put the cat outside about two minutes earlier. I looked up and, oh holy hell, it was a mouse! Now, our cat doesn’t actually kill mice or rats. What he prefers to do instead is catch them, and bring them home as pets. We had one mouse that lived under our dishwasher for a month before we knew he was there – he never got into our food but was so fat from cat food he morphed from a tiny field mouse to a small Chihuahua.

Of course, being a girl, I shrieked and the mouse ran into a tiny crawl space under our cupboards with no way for us to catch him. However, since there was only one way in, we assumed that there was only one way out… We moved the cat food back a little bit, put some sticky traps under the hole in the crawl space and waited. After a few minutes my husband said he had to go – he was driving the carpool that day. I wasn’t really interested in being part of the mouse homicide, especially when my husband told me that once he was caught I was going to have to brain him with a shovel so he wouldn’t suffer. Um – what?! I knew I had to be brave.

Ten minutes later while I’m sitting at my desk, I hear a giant commotion coming from the kitchen so with absolute dread, I ran in to check the situation. Not good. The mouse had gotten its back feet on the sticky trap but not its front and it was frantically running around the kitchen dragging the trap with it. I ran into the garage to get a bucket - with the plan to just cover it with that, call my husband and make him come home to deal with it. When I got back to the kitchen, the mouse was gone – all that was left was a fur covered sticky trap.

So now we have another mouse that seems to enjoy his daily meals of cat food. We’ve got more traps out and for once, I am happy to be headed out of town.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I may be blonde but I'm not an airhead - really!

After a 7 day trip that included 6 flights, 5 trains, three hotels and one rental car I was exhausted and came home able to only use half my brain.  I picked my son up from school early on my way home from the airport thinking that we would have some good bonding time together (hopefully snuggled up in bed with a movie!). 

As the “low fuel” light was glaring at me, I took a quick detour to the gas station on the way home.  I rolled down the back windows to talk to the kid while I was pumping gas so he could tell me all about his day at school.  When I was done, the gas pump offered me a car wash – the kid LOVES to drive through the car wash so I said yes and off we went.  I put my super-secret code into the machine, rolled up my window and waited for the mechanical wheel to push us through.  As we started going, I was marveling at the pretty green, pink and blue foam when I heard “Roll them up! Roll them up!” from the backseat.  I looked back and realized that the kid was being coated from the neck down in aforementioned pretty green, pink and blue foam – as was the rest of the backseat. It seems I had forgotten to roll up the back windows after pumping gas. 

I frantically pushed the back seat window button – it was maddeningly slow.  Luckily I got the windows up right at the end of the foam cycle but before the rinse.  The kid was completely covered, my seats were completely covered, my floor was completely covered and we laughed like crazy for the rest of the wash.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture but I will never forget (and the kid would never let me forget) the sight of him after going through the car wash.  On the bright side, I had no problem getting my son to take a shower, and the leather in my backseat has never been cleaner!

This isn’t the first time I’ve made a stupid mistake due to exhaustion.  The week of the car wash I also got into the shower while still wearing my underwear, and searched everywhere for my cell phone only to realize after tearing the house apart that I was holding it in my hand. 

Of course, I’m writing this while on another trip – 5 flights in 5 days.  I’m tired just thinking about it.