Re-entry Week 1 Update

Last week, Austin and I sat in the “Drawing Room” restaurant of the St. Regis hotel in Bangkok, enjoying appetizers and virgin mojitos (we don’t drink). We talked about our future, about how in a week we could be under contract on a house and have our very own cars. Well, some things have gone according to plan, and many things have not. Here’s a run-down of our week:

  • Thursday, 9/7: We spend all day on airplanes on the way back to the U.S. We’re in the bulkhead seats on the way from Japan to Chicago. That’s great, except I get motion sick from watching the screen that’s to the side of my seat instead of directly in front of my seat. Owen runs away at an inopportune moment, I chase him down the aisles of the plane as I feel my airplane dinner start coming up from my stomach. I throw Owen to Austin and make it to the bathroom just in time to vomit up everything in my stomach. Afterwards, I’m still not feeling great so I fall asleep holding Owen and we sleep for almost the rest of the flight. Austin and I spend too long looking at houses and cars online before bed, and the boys wake up from their “nap” before we’re even asleep for the night. So I stay up all night until 4 a.m. watching them.
  • Friday, 9/8: We spend all morning at the pediatrician’s office for Landon’s well check. Everybody is pretty tired, and our doctor is running really late because she is taking care of a very sick child. After the doctor, we grab some lunch, go shopping for food, and then pick up Austin for house hunting! We see four houses, one of which we think may work for our family.
  • Saturday, 9/9: More house hunting. Four more houses. We find another that we like, though not quite as much as our favorite from the previous day. Owen falls down into the crawl space of one of the houses. Needless to say, that one is not on our “favorites” list. I start to get a sore throat and we go van shopping. I think that Siennas have comfier seats, so we pass on the 2014 Honda Odyssey that we test drive.
  • Sunday, 9/10: Church is fun, actually being able to meet with a congregation that speaks English. The boys get to go to Primary class with their friends, and we are spiritually strengthened by the messages. I feel OK at church, but have to rest when we get home because I am starting to get sicker.
  • Monday, 9/11: I’m sick. We see four more homes in the morning, then I drop Austin off at work. That night, we go downtown to look at a Toyota Sienna. It seems like it’s from a reputable dealership, but it is extremely dirty, has a bald front tire, and the cup holder in front is broken. The navigation system also does not work. When we try to negotiate the price, they come out with a price way higher than the price posted online! I’m feeling really sick by this point. We walk away from the dumb dealership.
  • Tuesday, 9/12: There is one house that we think we want. Our realtor suggests we go over for another look, and to write an offer. We go and realize that although it seems like a good idea, it is not the house for us. Every single surface, from floor to ceiling, needed to be updated. Ceilings were ceiling tile or popcorn, floors were really nasty carpet (even some brown, splotchy shag!!) and walls were either really outdated tile, wall paper, wood paneling, or popcorn. Who does their walls with that popcorn texture?! Anyway, it was a big five-bedroom house in our price range, which is why we were so intrigued, but the yard was small and our realtor helped us see that although we could certainly add value to it, we did not want to be married to our house for the next few years. We sat there agonizing over what to do for hours, but our realtor is the best. And Owen slept that whole time. And Landon played, so we could make a decision. I was very sick (fever, chills, muscle aches, sore throat, cough, and sinus pressure.)
  • Wednesday, 9/13: I start to feel a little better. The boys have eye appointments- Owen at the pediatric ophthalmologist and Landon at the optometrist for eye tests. Both boys can see! Hooray!  We go over after Austin’s work to look at our first place house from our first day of house hunting. It was exactly the opposite of the other house we wanted to buy. Everything has been updated in this house, and very well done. There’s a downstairs family room, fire place, two bedrooms and a bathroom, and two more bedrooms upstairs. It has a huge yard and two-car garage. It’s everything we want. We can move right in and not worry about remodeling as we all work through this transition from traveling family to stationary family. We do not hesitate to put an offer down on it. After we submit the offer, we wait to hear back that night, but we hear nothing. Austin and the boys start to get my sickness.
  • Thursday, 9/14: I feel completely better, but Austin and the boys are now in the throes of the same sickness with fevers, chills, snot, coughs, etc. Ugh. This is not how we wanted to start our time in the U.S. Our whole family has not been well at the same time since we got back! We hear back from the sellers at night, and they send a counter offer. We counter back, and they verbally accept! We found a house! We also go to look at another van not far from where we live. It is pretty beat up, and there is black crayon melted into the carpet in the back of the van. We also look at a really nice, newer model that he has for more than we want. We decide to wait until the one we wanted to see (advertised online, but not at his store yet) comes. So, we still don’t have cars of our own, just one rental car to share.
  • Friday, 9/15: I spend the day doing laundry and getting together the paperwork to enroll Landon in school. Once the seller’s agent sends over the final contract, I print it out and take Landon over to the school. They give me the paperwork and tell us which class he is in and where to report on Monday. He’s in afternoon kindergarten with a friend from church. This is why we stopped traveling! We are so excited for him to go to real school!
  • Saturday, 9/16: Landon and I spend the morning running all over town to pick up some school clothes and school supplies. He stays by my side and is a great helper picking out clothes and supplies. He must be ready to go to school! We go to a BBQ with friends, and hope to go buy a van afterwards but we run out of time. I went to a special women’s meeting for church to hear an apostle of Jesus Christ and his wife speak. They are so inspiring and funny! Sister Renlund is my new role model!
  • Sunday, 9/17: We go to another special meeting, this time at a more local level, with Elder and Sister Renlund. We’re spiritually fed and only spend the last half hour chasing children around the back of the meeting hall, which is better than normal, actually! Austin takes an epic afternoon nap to try to kick this sickness, and Owen has a fever. Again. We rest up and try to brace ourselves for the upcoming week.
  • Monday, 9/18: Landon starts school and does well! We go back to our first car that we test drove and buy it. I need a car! We are now the proud owners of a silver 2014 Honda Odyssey with a cool box. I love it so far!

Instead of having a house and two cars by the end of our first week back, we had a house and zero cars, but I’m still proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish, especially with this terrible sickness going through our house. I’m not sure what it is, but it is a long, nasty sickness! By 10 days in, we found our car and Landon started school, so I’m feeling good about our adulting level so far.


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