Here Comes the Sun

And ... thank God. Literally. I thank God for ending the rain, the snow, the sleet.

I have mild self-diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder. It's hardly debilitating, but I'm feeling it. I'm really feeling it.

Don't get me wrong -- winter is my favorite season. I adore snowy days, and hot chocolate and sweaters. But, I've really come to love the South Jersey version of spring. Winter fades slowly where I grew up and where I went to college. Snow and slush and endless, endless mud and rain hang on for weeks. I'd rarely enjoyed Easter of my April birthday, weather-wise, at least until I moved to South Jersey.

Here, generally speaking, winter ends and spring begins. The days lengthen and it's warm enough on the commute home to put the windows down or open the sunroof. Trees bloom and bulbs sprout up. My substantially-wooded yard is pleasantly floral in the spring. I've planted daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths and tulips. My neighbors have forsythia, dogwoods, magnolias. Usually by Emily's March 24th birthday, we're well along the spring-bulb-path-of-hope-springs-eternal.

But this year, it's all terribly late coming. And it's been terribly wet and cold going. And I'm really feeling it.

(granted, the stress of work observations, converting to a new form of state standardized testing, fixing up a house to sell, slogging through the process of replacing/repairing large hunks of our septic system, packing (and more packing) are seriously not helping my mood, stress levels, energy)

Here's to a pleasant, sunny spring ... quick and simple repairs and a simple move. Do I get to have all of that all put together?



Happy Birthday, Emily!

I didn't take your picture yet, today ... but, don't worry, I will. You know I'm never one to let a special moment go by without an (over) abundance of pics.

We love you more each day, my beautiful, clever, funny, introspective, friendly, enthusiastic, kooky, amazing daughter. Keep being independent, individual and being your best you!

Your first day home with us. Pittsburgh, 1999

Your first birthday, Boyds Bear lion from Uncle Chris, McKean, 2000

Just turned two, Millville, NJ, 2001

3-year old portraits, The Picture People, Deptford, 2002

Kids always prefer the wrapping, Millville, 2003

Ready for Easter Sunday services, Millville, 2004

5th birthday Pirate Party, Millville, 2005

One of my favorite pictures of you, ever; Lake Erie, PA, 2006

Birthday trip to DC, 2007

Back in DC (I think) at the Botanical Gardens, 2008

Your first time skiing, Poconos, 2009

Excited for shrimp, Carnival Cruise Lines, 2010

Your own bucket of mussells, Somewhere in Scotland, 2011

BFFs, Buffalo Wild Wings, Millville, 2012
8th grade semi-formal, Millville, 2013

High schooler! Millville, 2013



  • I'm terribly proud of Joe and Emily for getting the parts they wanted in Cumberland Players' production of "Holka Polka."
  • It looks as though getting another septic inspection might be worth the $800 gamble that it turns up different results.
  • Another Snow Day is not another day of fun. It instead means the loss of another day of Spring Break. This makes me sad.
  • Our new mortgage was approved, but if we have substantial septic repairs to pay for out of the proceeds from our home, we will have to go back and get reapproved for a new, smaller-downpayment amount.
  •  I revisit my surgeon today for more sinus scraping and poking. It's exactly as un-fun as it sounds.
  • I need to scrape up $350 to have a weird lump removed from above Sasha's eye. The vet assures me that it's non-threatening, but I'm anxious about it.
  • I liked it when my parents were around twice in February. I miss them.
  • Inverse to logic, it seems like the more I pack, the more there is left to pack.
  • I'm already looking forward to my teacher's union-based trip to Denver in July and my family trip "Out West" in August. Like, a lot.
  • In order to not be sad all the time about leaving our home of 13 years, I've mentally checked out of it and I'm trying to focus on our new house being our home. This has the opposite-of-intended effect when any obstacles to a smooth settlement rear their ugly heads.
  • It's been nice to cook more at home, rather than eating out. Other than one McDonald's meal, we've not dined out since Ash Wednesday. This is a big deal for us.
  • I could really use a massage on or about my birthday (April 21).


More New House News

Has "Dugan New House News" Fatigue set in yet?

Not for me! Hee-hee!

Over the weekend we posted some items on Craiglist. Over the past week or so, we've been assessing our furniture, to decide what moves with us and what has worn out its welcome. Or just plain worn out.

Our exercise bike has to go. Ditto with our sleeper-sectional and a large entertainment armoire we rarely use (as well as the giant CRT tv inside it). We've also been browsing to replace our dining set. When we bought our first house (1997), the sellers offered to leave it in the house for us for $300. I've always hated the style of the set, but at the time it was a deal and we had nothing else to eat on.

Luckily, I found a great table, chairs, hutch and server set on Craiglist and it was both our style and our price range. The sellers even delivered it for us! So, we listed our old set and it sold right away. It's already gone and out of the house.

Anyway, long story short ... we've managed to mentally at least partially furnish most of the new house. We have nothing for the sunroom, and the spare room is winding up with quite a few weird odds and ends pieces. And the finished basement looks much better in my mind than our furniture will allow in real-life.

Right now we're just waiting for the mortgage paperwork to be finalized. Then I begin my next to-do list: changing our address with utilities, schools, jobs, magazines, Amazon, etc.



More News

Well, we've settled things with the sellers of the house. So, it's pretty solid that we will be moving in April. This is our new home:
It's only a couple of miles from here. Two master suites, two additional bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths, screened-in porch, eat-in-kitchen, great room, finished basement, awesome backyard:

Our room:
More pictures (all these were taken back in September) are in the various online listings, such as this one.

In the next few days, the buyers will schedule the inspection of our current house (yikes! I don't expect any major issues, but even minor issues can add up). We will continue to pack. A lot of stuff is already boxed up, but since we're still living here, there is a certain amount of stuff we have to have daily access to. We're assessing what furniture we may get rid of and so forth. Lots of purging.

Joe's spring break is next week, and I think we plan to tackle the storage shed, garage and attic...clearing out a bunch of stuff and organizing what's left into move-able units.

In other news, today was supposed to have been the day I'd return to work following my surgery. I'm feeling pretty good, but I won't lie -- it's been nice having some time off. Having a snow day today was an unexpected bonus day off. Tomorrow it's back to teaching computer skills to the kiddos.