Remodel: week 8

We are inching towards the two month mark with the big remodel. I won’t waste your time with a bunch of words, so without further ado here are some progress pictures:

The new hardwood floor
Click for larger image

Dining room into the kitchen
Click for larger image

Kitchen into dining room
Click for larger image

The beginnings of a railing to make the basement stairs entrance a little safer
Click for larger image

The new roll-in shower
Click for larger image
Just a tiny curb to keep the water contained
Click for larger image

Another kitchen view
Click for larger image

Oh, and the basically complete playset
Click for larger image

Countertops next week, electrical tomorrow…perhaps I can take some better pictures when we have lights again!


Bumper Sticker of the Day

Jesus Loves You.
Everybody else thinks you are an asshole.

Thank you Black Ford F150 for brightening my morning just a bit.


My weekend of P

I owe my darling boy a birthday tribute post, but I want to add pictures so it needs to wait for a few days. Instead I wanted to fill you in on my weekend of P.

The First P
The weekend started a little early as I left work a bit early to come home to help T Paint. Our contractor was itching to start installing the new trim throughout the main floor, and we wanted to get all of the walls painted before that happened. This resulted in a mad scramble to prime and paint all of the walls. The paint perfectionist himself even allowed me to paint, rolling no less, because he was too tired to do it all on his own. I wasn’t even the one to put a big roller mark of paint on the ceiling either, no I just managed to hit at least 5 edges of taped off trim. Still the finished result looks pretty darn good if I do say so myself. I’m sure it will look even better with trim up. We owe a great deal of thanks to T’s little brother T, and our Nephew for assisting with some taping and wall prep on Saturday. We also owe Buzz and Woody and Lightning McQueen a great deal of thanks for babysitting the kids for us.

The Second P
Not to be accused of living a sedentary life we also managed to throw a nice little birthday Party for The Boy on Saturday morning. The day started early, as I squeezed in a run, and then T made the playset suitable for the group of 3 year olds who would arrive at our house at 11 AM. This involved mounting the swings on the set. I set to work decorating and hiding the plastic bugs the kids were to find around the yard, and when we realized how squeezed for time we were we called in some reinforcements…sending T’s parents on a side trip to buy balloons. The guests soon arrived, the kids found their bugs, played on the playset, did a little craft, ate pizza, fruit, gummy worms, and finally some cake. After the little guests had departed we watched The Boy open his presents, the highlights being a bug/frog habitat (hey we can send away for a free tadpole!) and a remote control dinosaur that scares The Girl enough that we had to hide it with the other electronic dinosaur he got from my parents!

The Third P
After the party we went right back to painting, but if we fast forward to the end of the painting Sunday evening, there was a bit more work on the Playset. We managed to get the beginnings of the roof on the set, and finally rid ourselves of the last cardboard box of parts! We are in the home stretch now. I promise to post pictures of the completed set when we get there. Our stamina was running very low at this point though after a long day of painting so we called it quits pretty quickly.

The Fourth P
The scene, the kids’ bathroom, the crime: Poop in the tub. Enough said.

The Fifth P
The scene, the kids’ bathroom, the crime: a Potty accident all over the floor.

I was so very happy to come to work today to get a little bit of a break. I’m all P’d out!


Oh, I'm supposed to be opposed to this

I got an annoying forwarded email from one of our neighborhood watch block captains the other day. I normally would have just deleted it without a second thought, but somewhere in the first few lines was the mention of Super Target. I was intrigued. Of course the gist of the email was that we were supposed to be opposed to this monstrosity that could perhaps one day be built 2.5 miles from our homes. Of course there already is a Target about 3-4 miles from our homes, but it isn't Super. It is just your standard old Target. The problem with the proposed site it seems is that the only access roads are already congested, and more traffic to the area would not be appreciated. I tried to be indignant. I tried to be against it, but I just can't. I love Target, and the thought of a Target that is running distance from my house is almost too good to be true.

So should I go to the community feedback meeting to rally for the city to rezone the area to retail? I don't drive that way all that often anyway, so it isn't like it would affect me daily. Right, right, I'm supposed to be opposed to this proposal. I mean we have a Target 4 miles to our North, and one 9 or so miles to our South, another 6 miles to the North, and well lots more to the east and west. We aren't lacking any Targets, and two of those I just detailed are currently closed as they transform to Super Targets. Do we really need more Targets? What is the ideal number of Target stores per square mile anyway? We are very under-Walmarted in our metro area, I think Target is just trying to keep it that way. I would certainly rather have a new Target than a new Walmart.

Maybe I'll just forward the email to a few other people and forget all about it. Yes, that is more likely, or just delete it without forwarding. Case closed.


Remodel: What, is this week 6?

Oh, you knew it would happen, you knew I started out with remodel day one, remodel day two, then would jump to day 8, then day 20 didn’t you? Now it has been more than a week since I last shared any house progress. Part of that is just being insanely busy with work and at home, but the other part is that there just wasn’t much to say. We’d come home each day and the house would look more or less the same as when we’d left that morning. Not too exciting to blog about, so I’ve spared you the details. Things are getting interesting around here now though, so for your viewing pleasure I give you:

Drywall and hardwood flooring
Click for larger image
Coming up from the basement
Click for larger image
From the living room into the kitchen
Click for larger image
From the dining room into the kitchen
Click for larger image
The new sliding glass door off of the dining room
Click for larger image
Looking at the basement stairs...behold flooring!
Click for larger image

Just one random picture of the stucco work (that is now done, so the scaffolding is gone, but well I’m too lazy to go out in the heat to take a new picture)
Click for larger image

Oh, and because we didn’t have enough work to do we thought we would tackle building the Costco Sunray playset in time for The Boy’s birthday party next weekend. Surely T can fit that in along with painting the entire main floor of the house right?

The ground is not so level around here:
Click for larger image
But the extra dirt is great for building “mountains”
Click for larger image


A run in the day

Morning was just a little smoother today…

Rather than bore you with my pre-run torture schedule, I thought I would share with you my Tuesday morning run.

My runs all begin basically the same way: Out the door to set T’s Garmin GPS watch outside (finish getting ready inside while the GPS finds its satellites), then back out the door, ready to run, put the watch on walk down the driveway, start running.

Quiet morning today, I don’t see anybody outside until just before I get to my first major road crossing. Ah, but there she is, another runner. She passes less than 20 seconds before I reach the intersection. She is running on the other side of the street (she is running with traffic, where I will cross and run against traffic…more practically I’ll be running on the side of the road with the asphalt bike path while she is running on the side with concrete sidewalks – ouch her knees!). As I cross the street I notice another runner coming up the road I’m about to turn onto, she must not pass me. Oh, but she turns off onto the other street, no need to worry about her passing me. I decide I have to keep the other girl in my sights. She looks strong and also like she is moving at a nice clip. Oh, what’s this, there is a guy out walking, he’s wearing black shorts and a white t-shirt, I must pass him. Oh, but he turned off onto a side street; I won’t be able to pass him because I am continuing on. I’m impressed with myself as we reach the next major intersection, fast girl and I peel off in opposite directions on the same road at basically the same time. I was impressed with her pace, but then I was keeping it too, go me! Oh, look another runner going the other way, lots of runners out today. Garmin chirps at me, one mile down 9:19. Not bad I guess, though it certainly felt like I was running faster than that.

Now up the hill. Man do I hate this hill. Why do I insist on taking this route so often? Surely I could find a better route with fewer hills, oh that’s right but then I have to contend with the killer geese. I guess I’ll take my chances with the hills. Stupid hill, my legs hurt. I want to walk; surely walking just a little stretch wouldn’t be so bad. No walking. Right right, no walking, I’ll just run up the hill, I mean the worst part of the hill is only ½ mile long, then it has a few flats in it. I’ve run it many times before, stop whining. Look there is a woman out walking her dog, we should get a dog, I miss our dog. Stupid legs, my quads hurt, I should just walk a little. No walking. Ahhh a flat, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Yes it was, my legs still hurt, and there is still more hill left. I should look at my watch, no I won’t look at my watch until it chirps at me after this mile is done. More hill, but just a little more before we reach the shopping center complex, then there is the big downhill, almost there. Chirp, 10:40. 10:40??? How is that possible? I didn’t walk at all! I did it in 10:40 on Sunday and I walked twice, I didn’t feel like I slowed down that much today. Stupid hill, maybe my GPS lost its signal and I really ran it faster than that. Oh right, but it chirped at me at the exact same point it always chirps at me for mile 2, probably not a GPS error. Crap I’m slow.

Well at least I’m running downhill now. Look a minivan just pulled out of the underground garage in that apartment complex, I wonder if they like living in those apartments. I probably wouldn’t like living there since this street is so busy, but then we have a house so why do I care? Crap, there are geese on the side of the path ahead. There are 3 big geese and a ton of baby geese, they are so totally going to hiss at me and try to attack me. Damn this road is busy; I can’t even run in the road. I’m going to stop and cross the street to run past those stupid geese. Crisis averted, ran in the median for a while to get past the geese. After the near miss with the geese on the other route a few weeks back I just can’t be too careful, that was scary! I swear that goose was going to peck my legs. Okay onto the final stretch, just 1.5 miles from home. That’s just 6 laps on the treadmill; I can do that in my sleep. Why do I equate outside distance to laps on the treadmill anyway? That is weird. The nice little senior coop housing complex has its sprinklers on. Why do they insist on watering the sidewalks? I’m just going to run in the street to get past them. I don’t like running in sprinklers, even if I am hot. Another sprinkler on the sidewalk ahead, this is just so wasteful. How difficult is it to aim your sprinklers so that they don’t water the sidewalks? Chirp, 9:39. Well at least I am sub 10:00 pace again.

Just 4 laps left, and look I can start playing alphabet games with the street signs. This street name starts with L, the next street I cross starts with J. Oh, I’m already to I, then H, then G, look I’m all the way to F, and I get to hit the crosswalk button so I can rest for a minute before going across. Well that was a buzz kill, no wait, must keep running. Look two more runners out, I guess everyone is out running early to try to beat the heat and humidity. Is that the same guy out walking? What is he just walking tiny little laps around the area? I suppose it could be someone else in black shorts and a white t-shirt, not exactly a unique outfit choice. I mean I’m wearing black shorts and a purple shirt, but then this purple shirt has those stupid micro sleeves that flip out. Duck pond, almost home. I should just walk, I’m almost home, stop talking about walking, just suck it up and run the last 0.3 miles. I’ll just run around the next two corners and then I’ll walk, or maybe I’ll just run. Oh it’s a little dog ahead, I think he is threatened by me, yes he is barking at me, ah but now he is turning away and running back home, not so brave after all. Scrubs-wearing guy is out watering his immaculate lawn, and he ferries scrappy little dog away from me. I wonder if scrubs-wearing guy is a doctor. Do doctors wear scrubs other than when they are in the hospital? Look I’m almost home, seeing a neighbor out always stops me from walking. Home. No chirp, still need another 0.1 miles to make it an even 4. Should I bother? Nope. I’m done, at least I didn’t walk. 38:03 for 3.9 miles, not a speed record for me by any means but not too bad for a Tuesday morning.
Now the real work begins, getting the kids up, dressed, fed, and out the door. I suppose I should take a shower first.


Alarm clock

2:43 AM – loud screams heard from The Girl’s room
2:44 AM – decide T isn’t going to get up in time to stop The Girl from waking up The Boy, so I go get her from her prison crib
2:45 AM – settle back into bed and fall asleep (The Girl close beside me)
Unknown too BF early time – Wake to the feeling of someone breathing on my face
Still unknown too BF early time – Pretend I don’t feel the breathing that is coming from the edge of the bed where no person should be standing
4:29 AM – Tell The Boy to just climb up in bed already
4:30 AM – fall back asleep
5:29 AM – wake up for no apparent reason
5:29:55 AM – turn off alarm clock so as not to wake the two sleeping children to my left
5:33 AM – Wake to T’s alarm clock
5:34 AM – get out of bed and head to the bathroom to change into running clothes
5:35 AM – Emerge from bathroom to find The Girl is missing from the bed
5:35:01 AM – Find The Girl trying to affix the toilet insert seat onto the toilet (seat left up by The Boy)
5:35:45 AM – Listen to The Girl tell me “My need go toy-et”
5:36 AM – Change The Girl’s diaper
5:37 AM – Briefly consider just forgetting my run and sleeping in with the kids
5:37:22 AM – The Boy wakes up, and both children start whining at the prospect of me leaving for a run
5:38 AM – Turn on Disney Channel, shut the gate at the top of stairs, and leave for my run, T will wake up eventually


To delay or not to delay that is the question

The Boy is quickly approaching his fourth birthday. We have been busy with party planning, and dealing with constant questions from him on the order of “will it be my birthday after nap?” No, honey your birthday is still more than two weeks away, we answer. Blank stare from him follows, and as you can practically see the wheels turning in his head he comes back with “why is my birthday two weeks away?” I know he is having trouble dealing with delayed gratification here, he’s been privy to perhaps too much of the party planning (we are having a bug party, and he is very excited about this prospect), and knows we have a stash of plastic bugs hidden away. It is very hard to explain the concept of two weeks to my nearly four year old. He has started to grasp the idea of what tomorrow means, but he isn’t quite there yet. He says things like “will it be tomorrow when I wake up from nap?” In his mind nap during the day vs. sleeping at night equates to the same thing, but to be clear for your sake he does mean sleeping at night. We answer that yes it will be tomorrow when you wake up from sleeping tonight, but…then it will be today. You can see why he thinks we are playing mind games with him.

In instances like this I find it impossible to believe that he will start preschool in the fall, and that technically he should start Kindergarten in a year and a few months. I mean certainly he needs to grasp the concept of time a little better before Kindergarten right? He is bright, inquisitive, energetic, and just wonderful to be around. Why is it that I am forced to look at his not so perfect qualities as I decide whether or not he will start kindergarten “on time?” I actually hate that it is even a question. As the parents of a boy with a June birthday, we have been told many times that we should really plan on him starting Kindergarten at six rather than at five. The rationale is based on the fact that they are shoving so much academic learning down into Kindergarten now, that young five year olds are at a huge disadvantage which will carry along with them for the rest of school. The cutoff in our state is September 1st, and it is a hard cutoff, no leeway to let a child with a September 2nd birthday start school early.

I’m not really opposed to starting The Boy later than his age dictates, but the whole idea drives T crazy. He will rail that if we are holding June birthdays back eventually it will be May, then April, etc., where do we draw the line? He will claim that unless there is a real reason to delay people should be forced to enroll their kids when they meet the age requirements, because frankly the schools are only getting around all of this No Child Left Behind garbage by forcing what used to be the first grade curriculum into kindergarten. Of course it is easier for teachers to teach a first grade curriculum to kids who are six at the beginning of the year (you know first graders!), kids who in many cases have had an extra year of preschool to prepare them for kindergarten. T says that we need to push back so schools can’t keep shoving more and more into kindergarten, but then who wants their June birthday boy to be a test case for how the school system failed them? In theory it is a good idea, but come on am I really going to play games with my child’s future?

I just read an article in the New York Times magazine titled: When Should a Kid Start Kindergarten?, where this topic was discussed in great detail. I am most struck by the quote from a mom who did start her child who just made the deadline:
“I kick myself every year now that we sent her ahead.”

Yes, this is what T and I will struggle with when we make the decision for our boy. Not, is he ready now, or is this the morally right thing to do, but will we watch our boy struggle through school and kick ourselves because we let him start Kindergarten on time. For now the decision remains on the back burner. We’ve decided to revisit the topic with his preschool teacher so we can make more of an informed decision. We still have lots of time to mull it over, and there is no point in agonizing about it now. I’m sure by the time he is five The Boy will know all too well what it means to delay his birthday party for an entire week so his grandparents can attend the party. How do I explain that to him now though?


Caution: May cause shrinkage

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the size of my chest. I never used to care all that much that I wasn’t well endowed, but after breastfeeding The Girl I started to care. I certainly don’t regret the fact that I breastfed her for fifteen months, in fact I’m quite proud of it. After my failure to breastfeed The Boy it felt like a minor victory to be able to feed her sans pump for so long. It may have been a tad ironic when she absolutely refused bottles for a good stretch, but we struggled through. What I didn’t realize is that by pumping for The Boy and breastfeeding The Girl my breast tissue would somehow escape from my breasts along with the milk. Nobody tells you this will happen, and physiologically I’m not entirely sure that it is possible, but where there used to be B cups there are now just sad little A cups. I used to laugh at padded bras, now they are my mainstay.

Oh I know many of you have large breasts, so large that you cannot possibly understand what I am talking about. You pee on a stick, get a positive, and two minutes later you have grown from a D cup to an F cup or some such thing. I’ve read about it happening, and read the complaints about it happening, and just nodded quietly. I don’t understand what you are going through. You bemoan the fact that you can’t find pretty bras in your size well wah, have you ever looked to see what the selection is like for us A cup gals? I got positive pregnancy tests and never once had the sore breasts you read you might have as a symptom. My breasts stayed exactly the same size until my milk came in each time. Oh, I suppose there was some rib spreading that may have affected my band size, but the cup size never flinched. Even with my milk in I wasn’t that big, a full B cup, maybe a small C cup when fully engorged. Of course when I weaned I wasn’t expecting miracles, but I was expecting to go back to my normal size. No such luck, both times I quickly deflated to A cup size, and after The Girl I had to give up on my B cup bras because they looked silly all dimpled and sad.

I realize that there are much more important things to worry about in this world, but for the first time in my life I feel like I actually want to have something done about this. After I am 100% sure we are done having kids I plan to have small implants added, under the muscle. I’m not hoping to get that large, just enough so that I am not embarrassed to wear a tight fitting t-shirt. I’d like to feel like a woman again. I suppose this makes me shallow, or vain, or some combination thereof, but I don’t care.

Several years ago T and I, and another couple were bowling at a loud club like bowling alley. I was at the lowest weight I’ve ever been, wearing a nice form fitting turtleneck sweater, and jeans. I was pretty happy about my appearance. Then something strange happened. A random guy came and sat next to me in the bowling alley lane seating (which frankly is weird in and of itself), while T was up bowling his turn. The guy leaned over and said something along the lines of “you have the smallest tits in the world.” I just gave him a death stare and got up to bowl. The guy eventually left our area and went on to bother other people. I didn’t say anything to T because I didn’t want him to cause a scene, but as we left the bowling alley I told T and the other couple we were with what the idiot had said to me. They were all livid on my behalf, and came up with oodles of good comebacks I could have used, things like “well you should know since you have the smallest penis on the planet.” We moved on and honestly it didn’t bother me that much, but now I feel like saying you ain’t seen nothing yet, because they are in fact smaller now then they were then. I still wonder if that was just the world’s worst pickup line or if the guy was just an asshole.

I don’t want you to get the mistaken impression that the idiot in the bowling alley was the precipice for this thought, because he wasn’t. T wasn’t the instigator either, I mean T certainly isn’t opposed to the idea, but you know loves me the way that I am and all. It was only recently when I read about someone else having the procedure done that I started to think more seriously about it. I need to give it more thought, do some more research, and confirm that given my family history of breast cancer (My Mom and her Mom) that it wouldn’t impede routine exams and such. Of course if my current breasts managed to get breast cancer it would be like some cruel little joke, I can’t imagine what I’d be left with after a lumpectomy.

I’ve decided that we should warn other women about the dangerous effects of breastfeeding. If formula has to have a warning label on it telling women that it is inferior to breastmilk, breastfeeding supplies and literature should have to tell women that breastfeeding could in fact cause their breasts to shrivel down a size or two. Something like Caution: Breastfeeding my cause breast shrinkage. It is only fair right? Of course I’m sure some breastfeeding advocates would slam me for saying that, just like they slam people who say that breastfeeding hurts like a mofo in the beginning even if you are doing it right (yes The Girl’s latch was ‘perfect’ and yet I still had bleeding raw nips for several weeks, having to wince through the beginning of each and every nursing session and take 600 mg of Ibuprofen every 4-6 hours to cope). We are supposed to live in bliss knowing that any sacrifice in breast size and any temporary pain is all a gift to our children. Whatever. If we ever lose our minds and have a third child I will breastfeed again, but I’m now under no illusions that it is all magical and wonderful. I’ll probably be a “nearly A” cup by the time I finished nursing another. Lactivist? Not so much.


Status Report

As you may or may not know I have been making little tweaks to my life this year. I decided that it was time for an update, so here it goes. My newest life change has been the shift of my obsessive compulsive running habit from after work to early morning. I now wake up at 5:30 AM most weekdays to run or do some other form of exercise (an exercise video which shall remain nameless because frankly I don’t think it deserves any more attention, has found its way into my routine once or twice a week now). Those first few weeks of waking up nearly an hour earlier than normal were brutal. I had to drag my butt out of bed each and every day, and I kept wondering why I was torturing myself. Now, while I can’t say it is easy to get out of bed in the morning, my body has adjusted and I actually wake up before my alarm goes off most days. I can run up to 5 miles or so before my late return starts to impact T’s morning routine. I’ve been getting up early now for perhaps six weeks, I guess that means it has become my new normal.

Having my run/workout out of the way early in the morning has given me more flexibility in my schedule. I no longer have to scheme ways to fit in my run after work, and I can actually pick up the kids at daycare if I so choose. I’m still getting to work at close to 8 AM, but I am sacrificing an hour of sleep. I know my body has adjusted, but my eyes are bloodshot nearly every day. I don’t think I’m getting enough sleep, but going to bed at 9:30 PM isn’t appealing to me. For now I’ve decided that the pros of getting up early outweigh the cons, we’ll see how I feel in the dead of winter when it is bitch black outside at 5:30 AM.

My other big news is that I approached my boss with an idea that will help me fill in some of the downtime I occasionally have at work. While, it doesn’t seem as though there will be much downtime for the balance of the summer, I was given the go ahead for my plan. I’m excited by the challenge, and hopeful that it will bring good results for the company. Mostly, I’m thrilled that I took the time to put myself out there, rather than just staying with the status quo that was making me miserable. I’m not going to post the specifics about what I’ll be doing because I’m still under the illusion that this blog is not known about at work. While I’ve never said anything derogative, my little online journal isn’t exactly what I want my boss to read. If you want more details, feel free to email me…I keep meaning to set up an email link here and perhaps this will spur me to actually do so.

Baby steps really do get you where you want to go if you have a little patience and a lot of persistence.


Remodel: Day 20

Days are counted as actual contractor working days since the project began. Perhaps this is confusing for you since it is for me (technically it would be day 19 since there was a holiday on Monday). It has been 4 solid working weeks for our contractors, or nearly a month. I haven't updated lately because honestly it basically looks the same as it did when I last posted on day 8. Okay that isn't entirely true, some HVAC vents have been moved, some plumbing perhaps has been moved, oh and we did get the new windows installed and the new wonderful 3-panel sliding glass door. A big milestone occurred yesterday though, our new drywall was delivered. Just as The kids and I were leaving for daycare/work, the huge flatbed truck with A CRANE MOMMY!, parked in front of our driveway (blocking me in). They graciously moved so I could get out of the driveway after I learned that said delivery would take nearly an hour. Of course the drywall wasn't put up yesterday, but we can see the nice neat stacks up against our walls just waiting to be installed. I foresee new exciting pictures to share in the early part of next week.