Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Room Stuff and a Possum

The kids' new room is mostly painted and we have tile in the bathroom.

We are waiting on the bathroom vanity and vanity top. Heather and I picked it out a couple weeks ago and the bathroom vanity elves have been working feverishly ever since. I picked out the vanity top at the vanity top place, which, strangely enough, is not the same place as the vanity base place. I picked out a medium beige vanity top and picked dark beige distressed vanity base out of the vanity base book to go with it. Bill the builder suggested that we stay in the neutral color range for the permanent installations, so we could switch paint color at the whim of the girls. That left us with beige, beige, beige and beige of varying shades and finishes.

I sent Heather to the vanity base place with the option to pick a shade lighter beige vanity base, but not the really light beige, because that looked all wrong with the medium beige top. Heather went wild and picked the light beige vanity base anyway, causing us to scramble and switch shades of beige for the vanity top to match the light beige base with dark beige accents.

She was playing with fire, but I think we avoided disaster. That would be a fawn beige vanity top and a biscotti with cocoa glaze vanity base, for your records. I know my beige. In hindsight, I could have just let her do it in the first place and skipped the lesson in shades of beige.

I cleaned out the attic and we are set to have the upstairs air conditioning unit replaced with a bigger one. This will involve at least one nap downstairs for the kids, and my guess is that something completely unforeseeable will happen with the HVAC contractor causing us to have the kids downstairs for a couple days. We are ready with the pea pod tents in the bedroom and on standby for the AC man to come dismantle our upstairs air conditioner.

He seems like he knows what he's doing, but when he says he can switch out an inside air handler, outside unit and replace most of the duct work in one day, I have my doubts. It just seems like a lot to do in one day. Good thing we have the pea pods.

We also have a possum. In addition to the raccoon, we have a possum now. I took the cat food off the back porch and put it next to the garage. I've been putting the food inside the garage before I go to bed to cut down on the critter herd. When I walked to the front door to put the food inside the other night, I found a possum eating the cat food.

Nice tail. Yuk.

I know it's spelled opossum, but I'm not down with the silent "o." I say possum; I'll spell it possum. Possum. Possum. Looks right.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kangaroo Climber Update

The Step 2 Kangaroo Climber is not The Most Dangerous Toy Ever. I was wrong. The toy is just a little deceptive in that it looks like it's made for small kids - - because it's really small. Our crew just didn't have the coordination to handle it the first time.

I set it back up a couple months ago. I didn't break out the video camera, or a camera at all for that matter. The first time you capture video of all three of your kids taking headers off a Kangaroo Climber, it's called funny. The second time you do it, it's called Exhibits A, B and C in your administrative hearing before Child Protective Services.

I've declared it safe for use - and accordingly safe to photograph.

Step 2 says it's good for an 18 month old. For our kids, ages 19 or 20 months was about right for the climber. They have it mastered at 22 months.

We misjudged that one, but I still laugh at the videos.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cat Watch - Day 121

The last few nights I've woken up to Francesca and Thurston's feeder being tumped over. I pick it up, refill it, then it happens again. The last time I did it, I left the cat food bag outside so I wouldn't have to carry it from the garage to the back porch every morning.

I figured one of the cats turned crazy and decided to tump it over. Cats are unstable. No surprise.

Last night, while Heather and I were watching Lost, I heard a ruckus on the back porch. I got up to discover that we were being victimized by an intruder.

One of those is the police sketch of the intruder, not the actual raccoon.

Under the theory of you feed it - you name it, I get to name him or her now. So far, I've just yelled "git!" at it. I don't think I really want to have a pet raccoon anyway. Having another cat to feed was fine, but this guy has an incredible metabolism. He eats a ton. One raccoon equals at least five cats. I would imagine the cats aren't thrilled with the company of a wild animal either. I could call in a professional, but if the Critter Getters charge $285 to remove a mouse, I doubt I can afford to hire a raccoon wrangler.

Four months ago, Francesca was living the good life of an inside cat; now she competes for food with this scrappy beast.

It's a long way down for our little house kitty.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Meet the Judgers

Hi. We're the Judgers.

Mr. and Mrs. Judger to be precise.

We met while backpacking through Europe. We've been married for almost two years. No kids yet. Maybe we will; maybe we won't. We don't want to tie ourselves down yet, you know. We enjoy sipping coffee during the day and sipping white wine at night. And walks. We like walks. Just the two of us, hand in hand. Listening to the birds chirping and the breeze blowing through the leaves.

Our favourite place to walk is Aldridge Gardens. We spell favourite like that because we've been to England. We spell colour like this, in case you were wondering. Where were we? Oh yes, the gardens. Aldridge Gardens is so peaceful and serene. We spend hours there almost every weekend. It reminds us of some of the parks around London. We've been to London. Have you? You should go.

The only problem we have with Aldridge Gardens is this obnoxious couple and their three kids. They pollute the gardens with their presence more often than not. When we walk towards them on the trail, they only move their four foot wide stroller off to one side about half way, leaving us cramped into using only three feet of trail. The dad tries to smile at us, but we don't make eye contact with him. It only encourages those types of people.

The worst part about these people is their screaming child. The one that makes all the noise is a girl, we think. Actually, we don't know or care. But it yells. We've seen it yell twice. Once it was mad and yelling and the other time it was happy and yelling. It yells either way and they do nothing to stop it. I know they can; but they won't. And the woman is pregnant with another one. Isn't three noisemaking things enough for two people? Walking around with three kids and pregnant with another like they own the place.

We glare in their direction to make them be quiet and take up less space, but they refuse. The next time we see that child yell, we intend to lodge formal complaint with the park service.

The Judgers.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


We have walls in the kids' room.

It's starting to feel real now - like we have a new part of our house that wasn't there before.

I know from a square footage standpoint, our house is staying the same size. The man room was like a formal living room, though. It was there so we could use it, and we used it when we had people over. But as we started doing more kid related stuff, we had less need for a billiard room and bar.

I guess I should mourn the loss of the man room, but I don't. I'm too excited about making our house more usable for our growing family.

The house already feels bigger and it's just a dusty unpainted room with the door closed. If Piper, Henry and Rosemary knew to be excited, I think they would be.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Heavy Comforter

Monday night, Heather and I got in bed and I was asking her if the comforter felt heavy. She said no. Then I asked if she was hot. Again, no. I thought maybe we had high humidity and the comforter was holding moisture. I turned down the A/C, but was still hot all night.

Last night when we got in bed, I felt lumps on top of me. It turns out I had washed a load of clothes, piled them on the bed, and then covered the comforter, together with the pile of clothes, with a sheet because the drywall people were coming to sand Monday morning. Then I forgot about having put the clothes on the bed and slept under a pile of laundry all night.

Our room is so messy that I accidentally sleep under a pile of laundry. We have nowhere to put our stuff. It's everywhere. There's no "away."

On a positive note, Heather's closet is plumbed and sheet rocked, so I think we are close to having an "away" again.

Maybe we can move Heather back into her closet this weekend.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Kids' Room Progress

I got a call at work from Heather this past week. She called to tell me that the builder had the plumbers at the house and they needed everything out of her closet because they were going to start jackhammering in there.

Heather's closet is right under the kids' new bathroom and next to our master bath toilet. The plan was to run a sewer line down from the kids' new bathroom, through Heather's closet, and down into the slab and connect to the existing sewer line.

Heather couldn't leave work right then, nor should she have. Clearing out seven years of stuff under the observation of a three dudes waiting with a jackhammer is just a little too much to put on Heather and little Penelope right now, in my opinion. I told Heather I would go home and do it.

I had no idea the amount of stuff that was in that closet. The hanging clothes were not that big of a deal. My closet racks were full, but because I keep precisely 3/4 of an inch between each item, I was able to squish all of my stuff into 1/4 of its existing space. That made room for most of Heather's hanging clothes.

Maternity items went in front, of course. Heather even found a new skirt.

The floor was the hard part. There was just a lot of stuff - shoes on top of shoe boxes on top of shoe racks. Bill the builder and I loaded stuff by the armful into lawn bags and put the bags in the tub.

Shoes that looked familiar went into my closet. Other items that looked important went into the TV armoire or on the bench at the foot of our bed.

When we got to the bottom of the sediment of shoes up against the wall, the plumber yelled "look - there's a clean-out," which meant that there was a sewer stub already in the slab. Here it is after they cut the sheet rock out to take a look.

Bill the builder looked at the clean-out and said, in a deeper version of what Owen Wilson sounds like: "Wow - that was a really good idea I had putting that there." We stood and looked and nodded our heads. "It's almost like I knew we would be standing here one day adding onto the house when I built it." It was nice to see Bill admire the work he did, only to forget about it in order to pleasantly surprise himself later. That's actually a really good feeling if you haven't experienced it.

Bill's pride in his housing design aside, I was wondering if finding that sewer pipe was going to save me any money. I'm new to hiring a contractor to remodel a house. I know that upgrading a cabinet or adding a second one like we did in the bathroom will cost a few hundred dollars extra. I didn't ask whether we get a credit for not having to jackhammer through the slab when we find out that it's already been stubbed for sewer. Having people stand around with a jackhammer doesn't look significantly cheaper than having people actually use a jackhammer though. Something tells me that we won't see a change order entitled "found sewer line: -$350.00" when we get the one for the cabinet. Just a hunch.

As for the progress upstairs, everything is wired and we have water to and from the bathroom.

So far, I've managed to find everything Heather has asked me for that I pulled out of her closet. I'm pretty impressed with myself. There was a lot to keep track of. If I can keep this streak alive into the weekend when we put everything back, I will have pulled off the most successful mid-afternoon closet heists ever.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


At Aldridge Gardens last weekend, Henry and I were playing around a little waterfall and bridge. Some people waked by and noticed three snakes on the rocks. We had been right next to them the whole time and didn't notice.

There were these two on the left side.

And this long one sunning itself on the right.

When Heather and Ann came back over, I tried to show them the snakes, but they couldn't see them. I got down on the rock next to the two snakes and pointed at them. As soon as I got too close for the snakes' comfort, they both ran for cover. I happened to be standing on their cover, so they appeared to be coming at me.

When the snakes came at me, I yelled a little. Heather and Ann both made fun of me - not so much for yelling, but for the pitch of my yell. They said it was a high. Like a girl.

I don't like snakes. All the logic in the world isn't going to change my mind. My first thought about the involuntary girl yelp while being attacked by multiple snakes is that it sets a bad example for Henry, who was looking on. Then again, as a matter of policy, yelling like a girl and running every time a snake comes after him could serve him well in life. Sure, there's the shame associated with it, but shame only hurts on the inside. Being mauled by serpents hurts all over.

P.S. You can spare me the "those are just corn/rat/barn/whatever snakes" part. I don't have a snake field guide and I have no intention of counting stripes or looking at their eyes before I decide to run from them screaming.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Pregnant Woman Taking Pictures

Heather has been taking great pictures of our little babies ever since she got her Nikon D60 from them for Mother's Day last year. Sometimes I'm in the pictures because I'm in the general vicinity of the subjects. Heather, however, never gets in the pictures because she's on the other side of the camera. I would really like for some of the pictures of the kids to have Heather in them. I have a few, but they aren't as good as Heather's. I've decided to take start taking pictures of Heather taking pictures of the kids anyway. Here she is taking pictures at Aldridge Gardens.

When I showed these pictures to Heather, she was surprised at how pregnant she looked. I guess that sort of thing kind of sneaks up on you.