Saturday, April 19, 2008

Various Stuffs

We sold our house yesterday to the county. Currently, we have no home (which my husband reminded me also means no mortgage!), although we are still allowed to live here until we move on May 3rd. We will be buying the new house on Tuesday, which is when the real fun can begin, since the place is filthy after the guy living in it alone for awhile and then being empty for a long time, and also it seriously needs some paint. The kitchen is painted GREY, for chrissakes. That, my friends, is the color of rotted meat. Ugh.

Josie's trauma is over. Yesterday her teacher pulled her, Guy, and Kwami into a room and asked them for The Truth. Shockingly, Kwami 'fessed up that he had a)lied about Josie spitting in the first place and b)lied to his dad about her spitting on purpose a second time, on him. Josie and Guy were then free to go, and she doesn't know what happened to Kwami from then on, but whatever it was, she said he spent the rest of the day with his head on his desk - not because he'd been told to, but because of whatever his punishment was going to be. Phew! I had really wanted to believe my little Pea, but with everything else that had been happening that we hadn't known about, I did have my doubts that *something* had happened. We decided not to punish her for hiding her previous school punishment, since the emotional trauma was enough.

I have been reading a lot lately, and not saying anything about any of the books!!! So, here's a rundown:

Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortensen:
Eeh. I couldn't get into it, and stopped somewhere around page 60. It wasn't that well written, and while what the guy was doing was great, the presentation was terrible. A lot of people have liked this book, though, so make your own call.

Backyard Giants: The Passionate, Heartbreaking, and Glorious Quest to Grow the Biggest Pumpkin Ever, by Susan Warren:
This I liked. It follows the Southern New England Pumpkin Grower's Association, and mainly the Wallace family, through the 2006 season. Since I like to garden, it appealed to me, but also it was just fun to read about people taking part in such a niche competition. As a child, I went to many fairs in the New England area, and saw the 1000lb pumpkins that I have tried to describe to my kids. It wasn't a page-turner, by any imagination, except at the very end, when you find out who the world record holder was going to be, and who would win all the awards. The Wallace family was an interesting bunch, and it was kind of like following the progress of a neighbor that you liked a lot. This one is definitely for the NPR crowd.

Before Green Gables, by Budge Wilson:
I actually enjoyed this novel more than the rest of the Anne of Green Gables series, which I have been reading to Josie over the past several months. Wilson isn't the original author of the series, of course (L.M. Montgomery is), but her style was very true to the Gables books, and she did a wonderful job of tying this prequel into the rest of the series using little mentions of this person or that cat that were just asides in the original books. She begins writing with the pregnancy of Anne's mother, and while basically everything that follows is despair (the death of her parents, the bouncing from home to wretched home and finally the orphanage), there is an undeniable strand of hope that continues through the whole thing. The only problem, really, is that Anne has relationships with several adults throughout the years, who in real life would have adopted her at any point rather than have her go to another awful home, but since Wilson is bound by the existence of the original series, she can't allow that to happen; to be more realistic, these relationships should have been less familial. Also important to note: this is not a young children's book. It deals with alcoholism, parental death, abuse and poverty. I was able to read it aloud to Josie because I edited some as I read, but I would not have wanted her to read it on her own.

Alexander and the Wonderful, Marvelous, Excellent, Terrific Ninety Days, by Judith Viorst:
Remember Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? Well, he's an adult now, with three kids. Judith Viorst, who wrote the original series using her son as a model, has written another book about her son's family coming to live with them for ninety days while their home is remodeled. Viorst is in her seventies now, and believe me, it shows. While her book is entertaining and interesting in a reality-show kind of way, man, does that woman have irrational expectations of what will occur while having three young kids in the house!!! While I did enjoy the book, I have to say that Viorst is a giant stick in the mud whose house I would not want to have to visit with my kids!!!


Swistle said...

I'm really glad things worked out for Josie.

I like the sound of Backyard Giants, Before Green Gables, and the Viorst book---although I have such a positive image of Viorst, I don't know if I want to ruin it!

Kristin.... said...

Hooray for the house issue being settled. I was a real estate lawyer for 7 years, so I understand your struggles.

Glad things worked out for Josie. I'm sure now that I have one in school we'll be visiting more of these issues. Yuck.

I love Anne of Green Gables. I don't think I've ever read the books though~just the movies from PBS. I think I may have to purchase them!