Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Which Would You Go With?

Current color: White

Argos 7065

Curio Gray 0024

Lemon Verbena 7726

(Did these on Sherwin Williams website.)

Rainy Morning

It's another rainy morning in what has been a surprisingly rainy July. I forget sometimes that this is only my third summer here and I don't yet have a read on what a "normal" monsoon season feels like. This one has been much wetter than last year and my fibromyalgia has been complaining. But the air smells so sweet and spicy, and it is such a treat to go out on the balcony in the mornings and feel a cool, dewy breeze blowing. It feels like just out of sight there may be a beautiful lake, little breeze tossed waves lapping the shore. (These are the fantasies living in the desert can evoke!)

Last night we met with our real estate agent again to look at a couple of houses. Because short sales have such a reputation for not working out, and because we found the Pink Cloud house so early in the search, we have been keeping our eyes open for plan b. Anyway, the houses we saw weren't that exciting but it was exciting to meet with Karen again and hear her say that she is quite sure we are going to get an approval on the Pink Cloud house, and SOON!  I needed to hear that. The waiting is driving me crazy and Ross keeps reminding me not to get my hopes up, but it is hard!

The other thing that is testing my patience is waiting for the Stanger's visit. October seems like such a long way off, but I am glad at least that we will have time to move into the new house before they get here. What an exciting fall it is going to be!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

What's Up

  • We had Remy's neuropsych evaluation and she concurred with the original diagnosis of autism. Today I got a letter from our insurance company letting us know that Remy has been approved for 48 one hour sessions of ABA therapy. This is nice but 48 hours is only two months of therapy, if that. I spoke with the company who will be providing the ABA, and they said that when we have used up the 48 hours we will submit for more hours. She didn't sound worried so I will try not to worry.  
  • Things are going well for Ross at work. End of Nations is in beta now and Ross is really happy with the way it has come together. He says it looks good and is fun to play. He may be a little biased but the buzz in the gaming community has been positive as well. Our fingers are crossed that it will do really well when it has it's wide release later this year! 
  • It has been a week since our offer was approved by the seller and we still haven't heard from the bank. Short sales are scary but the good news is that earlier this year Bank of America (who holds the mortgage on this house) revamped their short sale process and now returns an answer on short sales in three weeks or less. So just two weeks to go. (But hopefully less!) 
  • Vegas in the summer is hot. Like, really hot! I am ready for fall! And I am super excited about the prospect of going through next summer with my own pool! 
  • Remy is becoming such a big boy! He can pull up his pants, drink out of a big boy cup, shakes his head "no" at anything that doesn't completely appeal to him, and walk up and down the stairs with just a hand to hold.  But he still likes to curl up in my lap on the rocking chair, thank you God! 

    • Sunday, July 22, 2012


      Man, does time move slower when you are waiting on an approval for a short sale or what? It seems like it. It is only Sunday, so no chance of any word today. I am staying distracted by thinking about what we could do with the place if we get it.

      Here is the kitchen as it is today.
      Here is what a neighbor with a nearly identical house did with the same kitchen. (The dog makes a great accessory, doesn't he?) I think the white would look better with the granite counter-tops in the house above than their white ones, but worse with the white stove and microwave. Definitely an option though! If I get too lazy or busy or broke then I hope my collection of colorful dishtowels and lime green rug would distract from the oak.  A kitchen with orange cabinets needs a lot of green and blue to balance it out.  

      Here is the formal living room (as viewed from the dining room looking toward the front door.) My favorite thing about it currently is the plant in the corner. That thing is BIG and green and makes me happy.  

      Here is what the neighbors did with the same space (as viewed from the loft at the top of the stairs.) I like that they also have a plant. Plants are good. And I like that the only thing they have done to the windows are some discreet white blinds. The space seems bigger and brighter. I also like the area rug but I would probably want a slightly more dramatic punch of color, maybe some coral colored pillows or something. (Ever since we got back from Hawaii I have been very drawn to tropical things but you have to be careful because it can be a little disorienting to walk out of the desert and into someone's tropical themed living room.  So, like, no silk Birds of Paradise or oversized fish etchings.) 

      Below is the family room (or den or whatever) as seen from the breakfast nook. I don't understand the solid navy curtains and there is a sad lack of the color green, don't you think? A large chunk of orange wood houses the TV. I would be okay if that is not really a built in and they took it with them.  I love the fireplace though and that we will be able to fit our big sectional couch in here. 

      Here is what the neighbors did. An updated ceiling fan, more blinds (I would love plantation shutters but I have a child to feed) and a nice area rug.  I also doubt they have an orange entertainment center lurking left of view. Nice, but I would prefer a little more Hawaii.

      Anyway, that was a pleasant way to waste a few minutes. Keeping my fingers crossed!

      Saturday, July 21, 2012

      House Hunt

      On Saturday we met with our agent to kick off the house hunt and on Friday morning we put in our first offer. It was a bit whirl-wind but when inventory is low here and you find the right house you don't say, hey, let's see if it is still around in a week or two. By Friday night the sellers had agreed but it is a short sale so now the bank needs to okay it too. That is usually the big if in short sales. Luckily, this one had a bank approved short sale price set just about two weeks ago and that is exactly what we offered so they should say yes.

      Not to get ahead of myself or anything, but here is some info about my maybe house:

      • It is on a street named Pink Cloud. How dreamy is that?
      • It has an in-ground pool and spa. I did a lot of soul searching about the pool issue and finally decided that I would kick myself if we didn't get one.  
      • It has a formal living room which opens to a  formal dining room all under cathedral ceilings. I am happy I will have room for my great grandparent's dining room table but I hope that it won't feel like eating dinner in a small gymnasium.  
      • It has a guest bedroom and bath downstairs off the garage for a little privacy. 
      • It has a sunken family room with a fireplace just off the kitchen where Remy will be able to hang out within my sight while I am cooking or doing dishes. 
      • The kitchen has a pantry and granite counter-tops and a breakfast nook. 
      • The architecture is typical of what you see out here and nothing like back home. I am a little unsure  how to decorate in this environment. 
      • The current window treatments are nightmarish and I hope the sellers will take them with them. Or at least burn them and send them to their eternal punishment before I move in.  
      • The backyard and master bedroom have a decent if not great view of the mountains. (I got a little spoiled with my apartment view.) 
      • The house is a couple of doors down from a cul-de-sac so it is a very nice, quite street.
      So that is what is occupying all of our thoughts at the moment. Occasionally I remember to feed the cats or the child. I will let you know what happens! 

      Saturday, July 14, 2012

      Remy's Diagnosis

      A diagnosis is not something that generally brings comfort, but it is something that should bring a sense of clarity and maybe even a sense of progress (in the sense that you start out not knowing - now you know and you get to move into the next phase.) I expected our meeting with the pediatrician to provide these things. Unfortunately, the woman who was present for both his ADOS and Bayley and was supposed to go over the  results with me was out sick and Remy's BAT consult filled in. She is a lovely girl, but it is never easy filling in for someone last minute and when she went over the results with me I just got more confused. It sounded like she was saying that he tested ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) but that they weren't going to diagnose him yet, rather we were going to redo the whole process again in about 6 months. Meanwhile the pediatrician was busy advising me on the blood work and genetic testing she wanted and didn't speak much about autism.

      I cried in the car in the way home because the 6 month wait for the Autism Clinic and the process itself were not easy and I hated the thought that it had come to nothing (a woe-is-me moment!) and now we would have to do it again. When I got home I ranted to a few people and then finally got smart and emailed the girl herself (Remy's behavioral helper). She got my email and spoke to the pediatrician (the one who actually makes the diagnosis) and then called me that afternoon to apologize for the confusion and told me that the pediatrician did plan to diagnose him with ASD, which, under the new DSM, will just be called Autism (it's weird). Also, we do NOT have to do the Autism Clinic again. When Remy gets closer to preschool age the school district will do some more testing, but that is still a ways down the road.

      Having received the information from the pediatrician second-hand, I am really looking forward to getting her full report, which should be ready early next week.  I also need to follow-up with Remy's pediatrician so we can line up the tests and referrals that the EI pediatrician wants.  Also, coming up next week, is Remy's appointment with the neuropsychologist. She will do her own diagnosing, providing us with a second opinion as well as the necessary in-plan referral we need to get additional therapy for Remy covered under our insurance.

      Getting that additional therapy in place is very important because, despite their best intentions, things at Early Intervention continue to be two steps forward, one step back.  A new instructional aide was added and we were finally going to begin getting our 4 hours a week of IA we have been waiting for. But then the girl never came back from vacation. She ended up extending her leave and now they are saying she won't be back until at least late August.  They owe us so much in comp hours it is ridiculous.  Remy and I are not going to be able to leave the house, we will be doing so much therapy! Anyway, it is obvious at this point that the therapy provided by the outside company is the only possible way we will get all those hours and I hope it will build a relationship with them that will continue on after Remy graduates out of EI next May.

      That is a bunch of information, but the heart of the matter is that Remy is doing great. He is happy (sometimes the word happy doesn't even do justice to what he is!), he is learning all the time, and he has a few very special relationships in his life that he throws himself into whole-heartedly.

      Friday, July 13, 2012

      We're Back!

      Actually, we've been back since late on Monday night but you know how it is after a vacation, it takes a while to get the trains back on the tracks. We had a great time in North Carolina. It was  hot and sticky the way summer should be, the way I remember summers back in Illinois. Remy loved stomping around in the clay banks of the lake, pulling rocks out of the shoreline and then throwing them back into the water with a big splash over and over again. He also had a great time when his grandpa towed him (with Ross and me) behind the boat in a kind of deluxe inner-tube called Big Mabel. The bumpier the better!