1/4/08

Wet Windows, Oh Shit

So I knew the window salesman was shady. AND, I knew he was incompetent when they installed all new windows & doors in our house the week of Christmas and FORGOT to order any trim. You know, the little strips of wood that block the quarter inch gaps all around the window frames? Yep, it happened to be the coldest week in history and we spent our first Christmas here in a holy house. Jesus, Joseph, and Mary woulda been better off seeking shelter on the beach than in our windy barn. So the trim came 3 days late, the bill came discounted(damn straight). And tonight's windy rainstorm was perfectly entertaining until I stepped in a pool of water in my living room. Holy shit.
Brand new teak wood flooring, fresh drywall hung, textured, and painted by yours truly, and new f@!%$ing windows that are seeping water like Niagara Falls. By the way, when you Google "leaking windows" it only gives you polite long term solutions, not emergency quick fixes for moments like these when you can't sop the water up fast enough to avoid it running into your walls, absorbing into your concrete foundation and traveling down every plank of beautiful exotic wood. Let it be known that John walked in the house at this particular moment, calmly listened to me hyperventilate as I recapped my discovery, and silently walked to the liquor cabinet to pour two very stiff cocktails. I knew I married this man for a reason.
With drinks in hand we reexamined the damage and came up with a solution not even Google could offer. Please see pic below. Hope this holds while we finish the bottle of Vodka and revisit in the morning. Cheers

Death to the TV

Our TV was put to rest in the summer of 2004. We returned from a 6 month stint in Margaret River, West Australia, to discover closets of outdated and unwanted clothes, a dusty house, and a gigantic television we no longer cared to watch. Now, don't get me wrong, we love watching TV as much as the next American Couch Potato. But, I was 6 months pregnant and had a good 4 months of pent up nesting to unleash after living in a one room surf shack Down Under. I did not have time to waste on coaxing my tunnel-visioned husband away from a useless football game to assemble the crib, reorganize the pantry, clean out every junk drawer in the house, and yes, hand wash all the baseboards with a toothbrush (I was really nesting). Thankfully, John knew when to agree with a 200 lb. woman chock full of hormones and graciously accepted my offer to cancel the cable and use the TV set for watching movies only. When we moved into our current funky bungalow, we upgraded our "Movie Set" to a flat screen and added surround sound. We still watch a fair amount of "Movie TV" but I swear that absent cable box is the reason we've accomplished so much remodeling progress over the past year. This leads me to the topic of kids and TV. Shelby has watched every Baby Einstein, Disney, and Nickelodeon JR. movie about five thousand times in her short 3 years of life. She can actually quote Finding Nemo verbatum. I am no perfect parent. But I realized that my kid has never watched commercials. An interesting thought to ponder. We are happily enjoying our fancy Movie Screen and have no immediate plans to introduce that damned cable box to our home anytime soon. Oh yeah, the ladder is STILL in my living room.

1/3/08

Best of 2007, Downer Drama

Another excerpt from my past...The end of an era has arrived and we await the arrival of a new chapter in our colorful, quiet beachside community. My lawn mowing, bikini clad neighbor has never been the picture of sanity nor self worth. She has always kept to herself, making no more than eye contact with the stay-at home moms and geriatrics living nearby. We all know her history of domestic violence and restraining orders, we all decided her lack of self respect when they hauled her off on that stretcher while her handcuffed hubby stood watching. We all assumed her drug and alcohol addictions when she made a habit of coming home after midnight or not at all, filling her recycling with nothing but empty glass bottles (my bathroom window looks out at her trash cans) , smoking cigarettes on the porch midmorning while scowling at the sun, lying on the concrete of her driveway in the late afternoons (to stop the spinning? or maybe to enjoy the buzz). For never having one conversation with her, we knew a lot about our neighbor.
Well, we thought we knew her pretty well until the coroner's van pulled up in her driveway in the wee hours of the morning Monday. Those cops that showed up last weekend? The firemen that broke down her door? Well, they all left that night without checking the open rafters of her garage. Not until the last cop did one final sweep of the house was the real character of our neighbor revealed. No one saw her tying the rope on that sunny Sunday morning, nobody heard the chair fall over or the creak of the wood against her weight.
Her family showed up yesterday. Some say they could hear her mother wailing from two blocks away. We're waiting to meet the new occupant of the house next door. We think we know who will arrive when the funeral is over. We think we know him pretty well, too. His restraining order has expired.

1/2/08

Truths and Dares

So at the end of the day, I think I have reached my full potential as a wife, mother, and today, real estate sales person and property manager. Yes, there were setbacks, time outs, a little screaming, I did actually have to hang up on my realtor mid conversation because my daughter was performing her Mr. BoJangles Act on the tambourine, screaming like a banshee, and running dangerously fast circles around the baby lying on the floor. But all in all, I think I did a damn good job changing hats...today. On MY list of accomplishments??? I took my daughters for a walk (both girls and the dog) before they melted down - this usually occurs by 10 if we have not left the house. Ran advertisements for a recently vacated rental house I manage, which meant another dreaded phone conversation that left a window of opportunity for an encore performance. Successfully avoided the laundry. Saved a horrifically pooped on onesie (let it be known that my kids are true marksmen in the art of baby blowouts and we do frequently cut clothes off the kids "paramedic style" to save the child from their own nasty mess). Coordinated and gently guided John to a reasonable agreement on a counter offer on the sale of our former residence. Another phone conversation, another tambourine performance. Taught my daughter how to obey a timeout without laughing at her (why do I get the giggles every time my kid's in trouble?). Bought myself a new sweater sans guilt and admitted the purchase to my husband without hiding it in the closet (he won't notice the blouse and two pairs of shoes I slid under the bed until next month, phew). Rewind, SHOPPED with two children. Smiled AND kissed my husband when he walked in the door half an hour late. Made not one, but two nutritious, semi-edible dinners...and you're wondering what the hell could I have made in 1 hour that fills the dinner ticket for two nights??? If I tell you, I'll have to kill you. Okay, lasagna and a pot of chili beans.
Both kids asleep by 8. Now, if I could just get the ladder and the mitre saw out of my living room, initiate sex with my husband, and win the lottery, my day would be complete. Goodnight.

Remodel Remorse




John and I bought the little beach bungalow for a song and were encouraged by the layout and funk of the place. With open beam ceilings, a 2/2 main house layout and a separate 2-car garage with a guest room and bath added to the back, the lot was large and the location was entirely too perfect to pass up. We chose this house for the lifestyle change and the challenge. The lure of do-it-yourself ing this little outdated beauty into a goldmine was definitely the draw. We moved in and immediately began simultaneously removing the overgrown front yard while refreshing Shelby's dark, old bathroom. This all began in September...The bathroom was projected to be a one month job. Painting the cabinets, replacing the faucet and shower head, installing wainscoting, putting in some lights and a fan, painting the walls and the humdinger: tearing up the 3 layers of 1970s era linoleum to replace it with some tile. Hah!
As you can see in the pic, we painted the honeyed wood cabinets white, the walls were done a pinkish beige to match the porcelain tub and sink (which we opted not to replace). This is John's first attempt at laying tile and he banged it out in about 2 weekends. The tile was a Home Depot special, as was fixtures and lighting and a mirror. I think we spent around $1000 overall. It took us just over 3 months to "do it ourselves". It's functional except for the following: The fan is not vented to the outside (it just blows into the rafters-great for mold!), the cabinet doors never close properly since I hung them myself, and the lights we installed above the sink have all exposed wiring inside the cabinet-just don't look!
The moral of the story? If you can afford it, have someone do the work so it's done right and done quickly. If not, keep your wits and your patience about you. Or do what you can manage and have someone else do the electrical and hang your cabinet doors. :) Lesson learned.

1/1/08

Best Posts of 2007

Happy New Year! To review the past year, I'd like to share a few of my more humorous moments, caught in text, with you. Here's one for your reading pleasure.
Hello to all my dear friends and Happy belated Thanksgiving. Seems as though our correspondence is becoming fewer and farther between...could it be the distance? the age of independence? or all the damned kids mucking up our free time? I have thought of you all lately and hope your holidays are off to a great start. I had the pleasure of observing both my side of the family and John's this past week. As often as I've alluded to the insanity of my in-laws over the years, I have to admit my side of the family (extended, that is) definitely took the cake for the most dysfunctional, wild, and completely asinine holiday behavior. Ah, it was a memorable Thanksgiving. Only two wrecked cars, a few broken dishes, one drunk recovering alcoholic aunt, five broken fingers, and a partridge in a pear tree (make that a clay pigeon smatterred all over grandpa's red tractor). Good to know that some things never change.
How does one adjust to mommyhood of two children? Vodka with your morning oj? yet? Maybe that's just me. And yes, there is a preschool out there for your oldest kiddo that's 5 days a week, 8 to 5. They'll even wave your tuition for trade in some type of labor (child?) :)
Well, for the first time in my life, my house is completely decorated, lights, wreath, and more friggin lights thanks to my hubby, Clark Griswald...and it's still November. Our tiny house by the sea looks like a temporary landing trip for Santa's Secret elves. Ho ho ho.Needless to say we're one of the last on our street to decorate for x-mas. Although we were outdone by the next door neighbor last night around 9 when the red and blue lights were flashing in her driveway (and I'm pretty sure the black boots and billy club didn't belong to Santa Claus). Yep, the better half of our domestic violence pair moved back in with a restraining order, a new bikini (for mowing the lawn, what else?) and another cat. Shit. No arrests were made this time, just a call to the local firetruck to come over and break down her back door, rescue the pets and file a missing persons report on behalf of her father in law. Great neighborhood. More news to come, I'm sure.
Okay, the sun is up and so are my kiddos. Gotta run. Happy Holidays & Merry November.

12/30/07

Beer & Babies

Running errands is part of my job description as a stay-at-home mom. Going to the grocery store, the pharmacy, the post office...it's what I do on a daily basis, semi efficiently, infant car seat slung over one arm, overstuffed purse resembling Mary Poppin's carpet bag over the other, toddler tripping alongside me, strands of hair in my face, spasms in my back. On this particular day I was less one child and reveling in the fact that I could precariously balance Ana's car seat in the mini cart provided at Rite Aid, therefore allowing me the use of BOTH hands, pick up a prescription and buy beer all in one store. I happily emerged from the store with a cold twelve pack and a sleeping baby. Hallelujah!
This is where my luck turned. I positioned the cart on the sidewalk next to the building, my first mistake. In an attempt to avoid disturbing the sleeping baby, I stepped down into the parking lot to load the 12 pack into my car first (can we say, priorities?), mistake #2. As I gently eased the icy cold beers onto the back seat I heard the rattle of my cart traveling across the sidewalk and turned just in time to watch the front wheels careen off the curb (remember the key words, "precariously balanced"). I bolted towards her and caught the car seat before it fell from the speeding cart.
Okay, no harm, no foul, now look around for an audience. Phew, thank god I parked on the side lot where no one noticed my negligence. You better believe I was ready for that beer by the time I arrived home. Holy hell.