Oops, I Did It Again

I think I need glasses...hence the layout changes I spontaneously made late last night when everyone else in the sane world was sleeping. Over analyzing your blog layout is like over analyzing your brow line: the more time you spend in there working on it, the worse its gonna look when you're finished.


My Tiny House

As promised, here are a few shots of an (almost) sort of tidy version of my main living space and a glimpse of my kitchen. Oh wait, first I'll give you a "before version".

The built in cabinet/wall on the left is a part of the tomb that contained the old kitchen. It completely enclosed one fourth of the square living area making the entire space (both kitchen and remaining 3/4 living and dining area) dark and awkward.

In this picture you can see the hideous old stovepipe where a giant platform held the big blue cast-iron wood stove. Also, I must point out the attractive wood siding.
And now, AFTER: Drum roll.....Okay, wait, before you actually see these pictures I must call to your attention the time span that passed. This room was completely overhauled over the course of 14 MONTHS! The bulk of which I spent pregnant and hunched over our bathtub cleaning dishes while the kitchen sink and counters were backordered! HOLY HELL. We stripped everything out of this square room and rebuilt it except for the ceiling. For those of you construction minded readers, this meant new drywall, new wood floors, new windows and doors, new wiring, new kitchen cabinets, counters, appliances, new fireplace-you get the idea. UGH! Now that you can fully appreciate how much living hell we went through to get to his point, here it is in "After Mode":

You'd think that a perfectly square room in which to fit your life would be easy...NOT. We used the small rectangular space behind the sofa for a kids' area. It not only holds their toys and books but also room for two kids' easy chairs and a small table with 2 chairs. The mid-height bookshelves are from Home Depot (about $90 each) and so are the super cool pendant lamps over the kitchen island ($40 each). The girls still have the two pink Anywhere Chairs from PotteryBarnKids.com which I highly recommend as they have survived EVERYTHING (see the flu bug entries from January). I also put a turquoise shag rug down there(which you can't quite see) so they could get cozy with books and toys, Target.com. The colorful wool rug in the living room area (which I still haven't grown to love) is from Target.com.
On the left hand side of this picture you'll see my last problem area:the entertainment center. What I failed to show was the built in fireplace area with the TV above it which is butted up to the entertainment crap further to the left. I'm taking suggestions to solve the make-shift junk piece next to the fireplace which houses the stereo and DVD equipment, photo albums, CDs and DVDs. This is not part of my vision. Finding a small but tall piece of furniture with some drawers and open shelving (so the remotes still work) is impossible. It also cannot impede on the very closely situated dining area. I'm leaning towards some varying depth modern wall shelves. When I solve my (now 2 year) problem I'll be sure to let you know.
I hope this gives you some insight into my living space. I am typically seated at the dining table, eating, drinking or writing-with my back strategically pointed at my children.
PS There's a reason these pictures are not fully enlarged...


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Where Worlds Collide

My living room played host to a catastrophic collision of totally separate lives. From the moment my husband's L.A. friend set foot on our toy strewn living room floor, it was clear we were not shooting from the same Nerf Holster.
Mr. Hollywood, as I'll deem him, drove up in a sporty hybrid, he wore accessories like a tweed golf hat and a leather banded bracelet. He had cool stubble, not unkempt facial hair. He did things like run his fingers through his own hair and change accents when telling a story. He quoted movies and referred to actors and actresses in context, because he could. He stays up until 3 am and sleeps in until 10. He tells stories about the VIP Rooms at "This Club We Go To".
And so I turned my critical eye upon myself, my husband and my little family unit in our responsibly dutiful world and here's what I discovered: I am officially Domesticated. I keep an almost impeccable house until my family lives in it. I can ignore my children's screaming during adult conversation (Mr. Hollywood cannot). I adhere to bedtime and fall asleep after story hour, even when I am hosting a guest. I don't know any names of famous people, nor can I conjure their face when someone else mentions them. I use words like "Skidamarink" and "Poopy". I haven't been to a movie theater since 1998. I tell stories about dance class and our last vacation to the aquarium. I run my fingers through my hair to get the crusty cheese out of it. My husband thinks accessories only apply to women. I bake for my guests in the early hours of morning and present stupid household items like homemade scones, cream pots and saucers. When did I morph into Bea Cleever? And where the hell did this apron come from?
And yet, like some unearthly comet, this meeting results in a starry evening of great conversation, an appreciation for life on the other side but more importantly, a greater appreciation for the lives we ourselves posess. And so Mr. Hollywood has gone, and so has his fast paced world of fanciful bank accounts and after hours parties. And left behind, on my crumb covered counter was a note which so perfectly explained it all:

It's A Small World

I have developed some bizarre anti-social quirks since moving to this one horse town.
Yesterday, I blatantly ignored the friendly surfer mom who locked eyes with me in the check out line at the supermarket. We actually made direct eye contact, smiled, and then I turned my back on her. It was a subliminal message, "You look like a nice person who I've crossed paths with on countless occasions at the beach, in the library, on the street and I should have introduced myself years ago. It's nothing personal, I just don't really want to meet you and your darling children because it negates my whole purpose in moving to this town."
When we moved here I flaunted, I reveled and rolled around in our anonymity. The mystery of a new ride through life in an unfamiliar town was thrilling. Two years later, the thrill is gone and my ride keeps taking familiar turns through ever more anticipated tunnels. And still, I find myself performing ridiculous antisocial rituals in public. I'm developing my social character around town so people can point and whisper behind my back, "Psst, that's the self absorbed mom who thinks she's invisible."
My greatest fear is walking into a public space and knowing every person. Is that totally weird? I would prefer to live the reality of being naked in a public place than be fully clothed in a town full of acquaintances.
Take for example the library. I recognize half the families there and I make a point to ignore them. (Did I say that out loud?) There's the athletic woman and her two surfer boys who drives the mini cooper down my street three times a day(no doubt a neighbor). There's the lioness of a Grandma who brings her wild girlcub to the last half of story hour. There's the tall drink of a blond in holy soled boots with her intensely shy son. There's the hippie mom with the great haircut. The list goes on and on. So maybe I do know everyone in town, by description, not name. And so I am defying the inevitable 6 degree rule of separation. I am the flawed link. World association ends here. I refuse to introduce myself in a last ditch attempt to remain anonymous. My hermit gene prevails.


A Sleepless Night

I'm gripping a bottle of Tylenol in one hand and a strong cup of Joe in the other. I'm placing my hope in caffeine and pain killers that my day improves, because it can't get any worse than my night. Who ever said teething was limited to toddlers? I do believe my entire household is teething and I have the puffiness to prove it.

Sometime between really really late and way too early, I awoke from my bed to see what was the matter-AGAIN. Ana was standing up in her crib crying-AGAIN. And just as I arrived to her bedside I heard Shelby grumble from across the darkened room, "It's too loud in here! I never get ANY sleep!" Case in point, a family who sleeps together, teethes together.


Taxis and Toddlers

It's a little unnerving to pile your small children into a seatbeltless cab and go careening around the packed city streets of San Francisco at Mach Speed. As a mother, I take the utmost care in chauffering my children around the streets of our village with every safety strap, harness and latch system known to man in place. What on earth compells me, more than once, to carelessly toss my >40lb. precious little daughters into the backseat of some half-crazed taxi driver whose only claim to professionalism is an orange slip of paper reading "Taxi License" and an over sized walkie talkie?
Riding in a taxi is an out of body experience. Who ever heard of a taxi accident? I'm quite sure these wild eyed, cigarette smoking well paid individuals care as much for their passengers as I do for my children. Why wouldn't they for a whopping $10.75 fare and a $3 tip?
I propose we start a new line of Toddler Taxis, with 5-point harness seat belts and DVD players in every seat.

My Family of Four in San Francisco

5 days, 4 nights in San Francisco with two kids can be done. Although my husband was with us in spirit, his job obligated him to disappear every few hours for a meeting or a seminar. It was like dating Superman. We drove over to Berkeley one morning to explore a museum and meet a friend and suddenly, the phone rang, he jumped into a cab and we watched him disappear into the traffic. I held a pile of his clothes in my lap.
The girls and I wandered through the Fisherman's Wharf Aquarium alone. We rode the cable cars to Union Square as a family but when we returned to our hotel he was gone again.
And let me tell ya, I'm no super star single mother. I led our family car down a one way street-going the wrong way in busy Friday traffic. While finishing my beer at dinner I watched my youngest pull a wood high chair over on herself, landing noggin first on marble tile. Ouch. The crowded restaurant turned to gawk at my stellar parenting when the "slower than molasses waitress" arrived with our bill full of double charges and mistaken meals. Sorry restaurant crowd, me and my siren are gonna be here awhile.
I encouraged my 4 year old to give money to homeless people painted silver and when they waved her over for a picture I pushed her in their direction. She's looking unnerved and suddenly freezes in an uncomfortably folded position on the sidewalk. And instead of observing her angst, I give it one more attempt to whisk her into the arms of two large, silver and dirt covered bums. What is wrong with me?
I promised Shelby she could order a "big dessert" every day. This idiotic decree was granted the day before our departure to hurry her bedtime so John and I could finish packing. I'm quite sure we'll be spending our savings at the dentist next month.
Best Experiences (with kids) While in San Francisco:
Cable Cars, Taxis and Electric Trolleys-apparently money can buy you love.
Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park-AWESOME, except for the weekend ridiculousness of shoulder to shoulder crowds
Aquarium of the Bay at Fisherman's Wharf-20,000 fish and totally quiet on a Wednesday
Rainforest Cafe-I'll eat a shoe so long as my kids are totally entertained and happy through an entire meal.
H&M in Union Square-because every child's dream is to have a happy, fashionably dressed mom, right?!
Honor Bars and Hotel Cafes-I think we ate once or twice a day here and though the food was less than par, the location and convenience was just right for my brood. And they both served alcohol. Amen.
Starbucks on every corner-I know "The Evil Empire" must parish but Farmers Brothers medium roast can't hold a candle to a Starbuck's Latte. There was one located a block from our hotel in every direction, thank god for sanity served in a large paper cup.