Monday, January 23, 2017

Google Sleuthing

We're in the market for a new house, so Zillow has pretty much been my homepage lately. Unfortunately, nothing new has been listed in quite a long time, so I've started to explore around a little bit. I've looked at houses way outside my price range, houses in far off cities, and last week on a whim, the house I grew up in.

I couldn't find a picture on Zillow, though, so I switched to Google street view. I "walked" up and down the street and found my friends' houses and the park I used to play in. I was even able to remember the route I used to walk to school every day. Google even allowed me to walk around the back of the house via a paved alleyway. I noticed that at some point the owners had converted the back garage into living space with a door and windows.

The picture was interesting to me me, so I screen shot it and sent it to my parents and brothers. This got us into a conversation about what else had changed about the house and eventually someone asking if we had ever looked for my grandparents' house in Texas.

I actually had looked for it a few times, but the only address I had was a rural route box number. When the E911 system went into place the physical address would have been updated and so I had no idea what the current address of the house would be.

I looked up the property records database for their town, but records didn't go back that far. I fiddled around with trying to figure out what the new name of the road might be. I figured there had to be some way to find the title transfer from when they sold the house. In my searching, I stumbled across some advice for searching public documents that are archived on the web. I ended up having to pay about $5 to access the records, but I found it!

In the deed of sale from 1990 I can see that my grandparents sold their house for about $64K. It gave the name and address of the buyer (also a rural route number) and described the location of the house in terms of the compass directions required to walk the perimeter. My knowledge of orienteering is sadly lacking, but I did notice that it mentioned the name of a road I had never heard before.

I googled the name of that road and started hopping around since I didn't have a house number. Since I had been keeping my brothers and parents updated with my sleuthing, I sent them the link to the Google map of the road. My younger brother "walked" down the road and was more successful than I had been at finding a house that we all agreed was the right one.

I showed my boss my detective skills and he asked me if it looked familiar. In all honesty, the street view picture doesn't, because we never used the front door of the house. We always entered through the side door. But when I flipped the view and look at the bird's eye view, I remember running through the "back 40" (which turns out to only be 6 acres) and I found the little pass through with the trees where we used to go and hide. We weren't supposed to be up there, and from looking at the maps, I can confirm my grandfather's statement that that property wasn't his. It was his neighbor's. Maybe that made it a little more fun and mysterious!

The house hasn't been on the market recently, so I can't find any interior pictures of it, but just finding the property was exciting. The best part, though? Finding my grandparents' signatures on the deed. These are the signatures that showed up on
all my birthday and Christmas checks as far back as I can remember. I hadn't seen them in a very long time, but they look exactly like I remember them. And that makes the Google sleuthing all worth it!

Friday, January 20, 2017

40 Random Questions

Do you usually see the glass as half full or half empty? I am definitely a glass half full person. It comes naturally to me to expect good things and to look for good things to occur.

What is something that would be really hard for you to give up on? I could never give up on my family.

Would you give a homeless person CPR if they were dying? I hope I would. I mean I guess honestly I would hesitate, but I've read that it's the chest compressions that are the most important and I could probably do that.

What makes you bored? I don't know that I get bored all that often. There are times (few and far between) where I have nothing to do but stare out the window, but I actually like those times.

What is your favorite four-legged creature? I have always been a cat person, but lately, I 'm really just a bit tired of having a pet at all. I have too many other things to take care of.

Do you like spicy food or not? Why? I like spicy food, but spicy food does not like me. I eat it when I shouldn't and then end up with an upset stomach and acid reflux for the rest of the day.

Do you consider yourself old-fashioned? I certainly don't consider myself fashion-forward or up-to-date on most things. Does that make me old fashioned? Then I guess I am!

What is something or someone you miss from childhood? I miss the ignorance of childhood. I miss reading books all day, or playing outside without a care in the world.

Are you usually early, late, or right on time? I am almost always late. It's not always my fault though. There are plenty of times I've been waiting in the van while the kids or Ken finished getting ready. If it's just me, I tend to be more punctual.

Are you happy with your life - at least for the most part - right now? That's a loaded question! We are stuck in limbo right now, so I am feeling unsettled and ready to make decision and get things moving. Overall, though, I've been feeling much happier lately.

Who is someone you envy? I don't think I really envy anyone. We all have our own struggles even though some people are most private about theirs. I do wish  had more money and didn't have to worry about bills so much.

What is your all time favorite book? I think I'd still pick the Harry Potter series. Is that cheating? I don't care!!

What is something you are proud you have achieved? I have three wonderful kids, a great husband, a solid marriage, and a good job. I'm not sure those are "achievements" though.

What was the worst punishment you received as a child? I remember my mom taking away my books when I got in trouble. Usually I was in trouble for reading after bedtime. I hated having my books taken away. Of course, now my own daughter does the same thing (reading after bedtime) and has the same punishment. I hate doing it, but she's got to get her rest!

If you could change one thing, ONLY one thing, about your appearance, what would it be? I really just want to be a few inches taller. My desk is too tall, my pants are too long. I have to climb on the counter in my kitchen to reach the cabinets.

What are three things in nature that you find beautiful? Sunrises, a mountain top view, and a calm lake

If you could do it over, would you choose the same career? Well I'm not doing what I went to college for, so I might have made some different choices along the way; but I do use my teaching knowledge as part of my job and I love what I'm doing now.

What is the hardest thing you have ever had to do? Most of last year would probably qualify. Telling the kids we'd had a miscarriage just a few days after telling them they would be getting a new sibling was heartbreaking. I can still remember the way Ben just cried and cried.

When was the last time you lied? This morning Henry asked me where the iPad was and I lied and told him I didn't know. It's actually in my sock drawer!

What are you listening to RIGHT NOW? Nothing! My office is quiet, there's not much going on. I get to leave soon.

What is the last thing you ate? Currently eating pistachios

What is something you would happily do again if given the chance? I would love to go on my honeymoon again. We had a great time traveling around, just the two of us. I don't think we've had a vacation together since then!

What are your five favorite foods? Salads, sandwiches with all the fixings, my daddy's spaghetti, my mom's pepper steak, and Ken's Salisbury steak

What is your astrological sign and do you fit the description? I'm a Pisces which I think is funny because I'm not especially fond of the water. I don't really pay much attention to astrology.

Do you have a lucky number? What is it and why is it lucky?I was born on the 13th and married on the 23rd, so those are my two luckiest numbers.

If you could have two super powers, what would you choose? I would choose super energy so I could get housework done in the evenings without falling asleep and also invisibility, so I could check out whenever I needed to.

What is the last dream you remember having? I had a weird dream last week that something bad happened to one of my student workers. It was weird seeing her the next day at work and trying to to remember the dream. OF course, now I can't remember it at all. Probably for the best.

Where did you get married? If you've never been married, what do you envision? We got married at my mom's church in the town I grew up in. The priest was a close friend, the musicians were friends, the photographer was our neighbor, the catering was done my family friends of Ken's family, the flowers were done by friends and the DJ was friends with both of us. I think the cake was the only part of the wedding/reception without a personal relationship.

 Have you ever been hospitalized for anything other than childbirth? I had bladder surgery when I was 6. I don't really remember much about it.

What is the appliance you would most hate to live without? We are without a dishwasher for the time being and I really miss it! My arms hurt from washing all the dishes and we're down to only four glasses to drink out of as the rest all got chipped.

What is the last movie you saw in a theater? Was it good? We saw Rogue One after Christmas. I enjoyed it, but mostly enjoyed my kids' and husband's reactions.

If you could ask your future self one question and get a truthful answer, what would your question be? "Does it all work out?" Of course, I know it does, but there's a life lesson in the waiting.

When was the last time you dressed up in "fancy" clothes and what was the occasion? I honestly don't remember!! I wore a formal dress to my best friend's daughter's princess party. Does that count? Before that it probably would have been when Julie got married in 2008.

How do you like to eat your eggs? I like scrambled and fried. Sunny side up is good on toast. I had a big craving for poached eggs last week and they turned out well.
A photo posted by Rabia Lieber (@mamarabia) on

Is there anything stuck on your refrigerator door? What? We have the chore list and Ken's work schedule. All my magnets got packed and stored away, so I don't have anything else up there.

What is the last picture on your phone? A picture of a pretzel I was eating because I was tasked with Instagramming  them for my Influenster box.
A photo posted by Rabia Lieber (@mamarabia) on

Can you speak a second language? If not, what language would you like to learn? I can understand some French and Spanish, but I can't really speak either of them. I'm pretty good at Pig Latin.

If you were playing Monopoly, which playing piece would you be most likely to choose? (tophat, thimble, Iron, shoe, battleship, cannon, racecar, purse, scottie dog, wheelbarrow) I always picked the thimble. I haven't played in a long time!

Are you good at keeping secrets? Sort of? Husband's don't count as "telling" do they?

Rollercoasters - love them or hate them? LOVE!! I can't wait until the kids are old enough to go on them with me. Ken is not a fan and they are too short for most of them right now.

Thanks for the questions, Lisa!

Monday, January 16, 2017

How to Pick Up Your Kids After School in 50 Easy Steps

How to Pick Up Your Kids After School in 50 Easy Steps


1. Get off work and drive to after-school program while mentally preparing dinner so you can hit the ground running when you get home.

2. Enter building and sign kids out.

3. Smile as other kids start yelling "Your mom is here! Time to go!"

4. Approach younger child's teacher to chat about his day.

5. Make eye contact and let child know you'll be leaving soon.

6. Finish conversation with first teacher.

7. Watch another family arrive and leave withing span of 5 minutes.

8. Argue with first child about putting on coat because he's already "too hot!"

9. Leave child 1 to get his backpack on and approach child 2.

10. Tell child 2 it's time to leave.

11. Turn around to see child 1 back to playing with friends.

12. Wave at child 2's teacher while praying she doesn't have a bad report.

13. Go back to child 1 to collect backpack and coat.

14. Watch child 2 approaching you.

15. Watch child 2 realize he forgot his hat.

16. Watch a family of three pack up and leave.

17. Get child 1's coat back on and head toward door.

18. Listen as child 2 runs back to his class and makes a request to his teacher to pick out a book to take home.

19. Allow child 1 to sit on bench outside because he's "soooo hot!"

20. Stand in position to monitor both children at same time.

21. Contemplate which parts of dinner you may have to now skip with your limited time.

22. Glance toward child 2 as he selects book and starts walking toward you.

23. Check on child 1 on bench. All is well.

24. Turn back to see child 2 talking and laughing with friends again. Yell and gesture for him to hurry up.

25. Walk into lobby with child 2 just as child 1 comes back inside and removes coat, hat, gloves, and backpack so he can go to the bathroom.

26. Try to catch child 2 before he goes back to say something to his friend while he's waiting for his brother.

27. Stand awkwardly in lobby area, outside boys' bathroom.

28. Contemplate how much of your life you spend waiting outside the boys' bathroom and whether that is creepy.

29. Hear child 1 flush and call to child 2 to come back.

30. Watch child 1 exit bathroom. Cringe as the the words "Did you wash your hands?" come out of your mouth before you can stop them.

31. Watch harried mother walk in, hug and kiss her smiling children, and leave.

32. Turn around to watch child 2 do a U-turn as child 1 goes back into bathroom.

33. Yell, "I'm leaving!"

34. Watch as nothing occurs.

35. Help child 1 put his coat and backpack on again.

36. Walk back to child 2 and tell him "We're leaving NOW!"

37. Walk out towards lobby.

38. Turn around to check if child 2 is following.

39. Yell, "Goodbye!"

40. Observe child 2 grabbing backpack and running towards lobby.

41. Walk outside. Finally!

42. Walk determinedly towards vehicle as both boys frolic in the snow outside child care center.

43. Get in van and start engine.

44. Buckle self.

45. Ask boys to shut van door.

46. Referee argument about who's turn it is to shut the door.

47. Unbuckle and get out to shut door because van is "on a hill!" and the boys can't do it.

48. Check mirrors and begin departure from parking lot.

49. Cringe as child 2 says, "I think I left my violin!"

50. Cry as you drive home and modify dinner plans again to account for the five minutes you now have to prepare it.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Middle of the Night Musings


Places I have fallen asleep:
  • the couch
  • the passenger's seat of the car...while I was talking/singing along to the radio
  • a movie theater
  • the dinner table
  • my desk at work
  • naptime at the daycare (sorry Pam!!)
  • my bed (obviously)
  • my children's beds...while reading them bedtime stories


Apparently I have no trouble falling asleep. If I'm tired, you cannot stop me from just switching off and snoozing. Unless of course I'm awakened unexpectedly. Then I just can't go back to sleep. That's my real problem: not going to sleep but going back to sleep.

If the kids wake me up in the middle of the night, I know I'll likely be up the rest of the night. Even Ken has figured out that if I fall asleep on the couch, it's best to just leave me alone because if he wakes me up to tell me to go bed, I'll never go back to sleep.

When I can't sleep, my brain starts working overtime. I start composing blog posts (that often make no sense later) or coming up with craft projects that are physically impossible to accomplish. My brain language in the middle of the night is weird too. I can't just have thoughts like, "That couch I saw online was pretty." My brain has to make it all complicated and third-person: "The couch she had observed while perusing her favorite decor site had really caught her eye. The lines, the pop of colour in the pillows. There was just something about that couch!" My middle of the night brain is pretentious...and British apparently.

I know I shouldn't, but sometimes I'll try playing a game on my phone until I can go back to sleep. I don't want to disturb Ken with the screen, so I play under the covers until the phone fogs up from my breath and I have to come up for air. Now that I think about it, I'm probably disturbing Ken more with all the moving and adjustments required to keep the phone under the covers in a place I can see it without hurting my neck.

I used to get out of bed and go sit on the couch, but this house has a programmable thermostat that turns the heat way back in the middle of the night and I hate being cold. Also, the couch is not very comfortable. And full of laundry.



If the stars are aligned properly (I'll just assume, I'm not getting out of bed to check) I might go back to sleep. Usually about 10 minutes before the alarm goes off. Ugh!


This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “When I can't sleep,…Finish the Sentence Friday is a link-up where writers and bloggers come together to share their themselves with a particular sentence. If you’d like to stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join the Facebook group
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