I love spring. I love putting up the coats and humidifiers, I love watching little plants poking up through the mulch around our house, and I love appreciating the sunshine in a way I no longer will in August.
I also love getting our tax return.
Who DOESN'T love getting a big hunk of money, really? For me, though, there is something much more satisfying about making a number of home improvements or large purchases all at once instead of spacing them out throughout the year. As I go through the fall and winter I contemplate, "What will it be this year?!"
For 2011 we decided to make a couple of very satisfying improvements, like replacing our garage door. When we moved into the house 8 years ago, the thing was falling apart. It's always had a chunk out of the bottom, and when you stand in our garage on a windy day you can feel the breeze coming through the many cracks. Our new one is so heavily insulated that it should deflect gale-force winds, and it has fancy features like an actual sweep at the bottom that seals it up tight. Considering our family room sits above our garage, I'm hoping this will significantly decrease the cold-floor problem in our house next winter.
The other wonderful thing was that we finally found someone to identify and fix the weird brake noise in our SUV. It started about 2 1/2 years ago, only a few months after we bought it, and seriously, it sounded like something was winding down every time we stopped in the thing. The first few weeks Faisal lived with us he expressed concern that we might all die in a fiery car wreck due to brake failure. By that point, though, I was so used to it I didn't even hear it anymore. My dad had examined it, to no avail, and the (brake specialty) shop in town told us they couldn't find any reason for the sound and that it was probably fine. So we've been turning up the radio and living with it.
Last week, though, our express oil change place found a minor repair that needed done, and we took the car to a dealership in order to have the repair and the brakes checked. I wasn't expecting a solution, but apparently they easily identified and fixed the problem. Driving home felt so strange and quiet, I almost couldn't believe it. I read an article recently about how minor irritations all add up to increase our stress, and I have to admit that FINALLY having that fixed feels really good.
Just as I was feeling satisfied over resolving all these things, Faisal told us at dinner Tuesday night that he was planning to move out. In half an hour. Apparently he had rented an apartment, purchased furniture, and arranged people to help him move his things out, all without telling us. I wouldn't have thought it would be possible for him to leave us more abruptly than he came to us, but that he did. We barely got the kids through their baths in time to say goodbye before he left.
Kyle is not taking this personally at all. He says that it's been 7 months, and we've had enough misunderstandings between us in that time that Faisal probably just felt ready to leave. He'd been spending most of his free time with his friends, his cousin, or his cousin's host family lately. His English is better, and he knows his way around town now. He's always been a little impulsive with this kind of thing, and he tends to seriously avoid confrontation, so maybe we shouldn't be surprised.
I can't help feeling a little rejected, though. I'm sad that he didn't let us know about his plans, even if he didn't want to share his reasons for going. He had his cousin's host family look at apartments with him, move him out, and is staying with them for a few days until his place is ready. All of which makes me think, "Are we so horrible to live with that he couldn't stand a few more nights?" I think not getting to be a part of the process makes me feel like he doesn't see us as people who can even be counted on for help, like we ended all these months on a sour note with no chance to make it better.
To complicate things, there is another Saudi student in the same language program that desperately wants a host family right away for only 1 or 2 months. They've asked us to consider taking him on, and I feel torn. On the one hand, our budget and our family's plans included hosting a student for the next few months. We know now what kinds of things we'd need to hash out in the beginning of our relationship, and there's the potential to have a more satisfying ending to this whole experience in the near future. Kyle feels up to it. On the other hand, I'm not sure we need the stress of adjusting to another stranger in our home, especially at the end of the semester when I'm sick and burned out from work and feeling rejected.
Either way, we need to make a decision in the next day or two. The session has started and this student needs to move from a hotel to a house or apartment ASAP. What will we decide? Promise we won't leave you hanging...