Saturday, December 31

Poor Pup

We thought Balto had found the bean sprouts and had gone on some bizarre vegan rampage. But no, *sigh*. He has worms. Poor little guy. And poor Zorak, because I am not touching any messes that might arise from this. Not now. Not that. Ew.

Called a vet who has come highly recommended, both from Ben & Claudia and from Wonderful Realtor. Their office was closing in just a couple of minutes and they were completely slammed, but the lady was very accomodating about making recommendations for what we can do in the interim, and penciling us in for a visit first thing Tuesday morning.


Wash your hands first, then kiss those babies!

Friday, December 30

Scratch That

I updated my sidebar (everyone please check your links to make sure they work - I think I'm all caught up). Alaska, you can never move your blog again. Ever. Please. :-) I'll clean it up and make it a bit less sporadic at a later time, but right now...

Zorak just cleaned the tub, and we bought more grapefruit soda at Wally World today, so guess what I'm going to blow my evening doing!!!


Kiss those babies,

Quick Blog, Then Back to Work

This morning was gloriously beautiful. We awoke to find our meadow, and in fact, our home, encased in a glittery, shimmering fog. I could hear the morning critters scampering about overhead, but could only see the dim shadows of limbs rebounding from some unseen creature's leap. It was magnificient. Zorak and I stood in the kitchen, crouched together in front of the one tiny light sucking hole er, window, both contemplating whether we actually need car insurance or electricity if we could instead use that money to put in a bigger kitchen window now. Mmmm, we decided to wait. It's not always fun to be the GrownUp.

You know, sometimes we feel like cueing up the Team America theme song, and sometimes we feel a lot like Tuck and Roll (from A Bug's Life). It's certainly been an interesting process so far.

The living room is now completely insulated, wired, and sheetrocked. We added one. more. outlet. It's a total pain in the netheregions, but it'll never be less of a pain than it is right now. And after a small scare in the kitchen last night, we've learned our lesson. (I stood there holding the coffee pot, thinking, "Crap. We need more outlets." Turns out they are there, they were just hidden.) We figure we won't ever look around the room and think to ourselves, "Gosh, I sure wish we didn't have an extra outlet in here." When I get done blogging tonight, I'm going to go slap some mud on the screws and then do a little more painting. (We're adding just. one. more layer of paint to the floors. Extra protection for the next five months, as well as changing the color to hide the traffic a bit better.) It's coming along, bit by bit.

Zorak is preparing the bath for priming and then hopefully I can tile it tomorrow. Then it will be done. Finito. El end. Yay.

The boys are doing so well. They're great with Balto (and he's great with them). They love seeing the house tangibly come together each day (there was much dancing and singing to commemorate the completion of the drywall in the living room). They still haven't quite shaken the Ick that descended upon us at Christmas, but from what I've read around the blogosphere, nobody has, so I'm not too worried. I figure if they're eating and getting water and have enough energy to run the property for hours on end, then they're not that bad off. Plus, with all the work going on inside, the more outdoors time they get, the better. (This dog has been an absolute Godsend for my sanity, believe it or not. It doesn't matter what the weather's like outside, or what video they spy in the cabinet, if the puppy is outside, they are outside. How could I not love that?!?)

Three more days of a long weekend to get some serious work done. That feels great. So, I'm off to do a bit more and then to bed with some tea and a book. Have a lovely Saturday, all!

Kiss those babies!

Thursday, December 29

OK, I take it back! (The Countertops Arrived)

I *do* want people to call before coming over!! Yikes!

Not friends or family, of course -- but installers? Yes. You need to call me and tell me you are on your way, or at least two blocks from my home. Please.

The last I'd heard from the Corian folks, they'd be here Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday and they would call ahead of time to schedule it. Well, using my astounding powers of deduction (having not heard from them Monday or Tuesday), I realized this morning that they would most likely arrive today. So I stayed by the phone and waited... and waited... and waited... finally, with the boys all settled in and a fair warning that I would make them do useless busywork if they bickered, I grabbed the phones and headed in to take a bath (my semi-annual bath -- hygiene standards have taken a serious dive the past few months).

I relish the mere prospect of bath time for myself lately. It's a rare and wonderful treat, the essence of which Willy Wonka couldn't have captured. I got a big glass of crushed ice and grapefruit soda (my latest obsession). I grabbed Claudia's copy of Eldest. I ran a full tub of scalding hot water and lined up the various sloughing products to make myself feel all feminine and... well, actually "feminine" is a bit of a stretch at this point. I was shooting for less angry-big-foot-meets-mountain-lumberjack-chick-ish. That would have been nice.

I'm in the water not three minutes, still writhing in pain from the scalding my legs are taking, when there is a pounding on the door. Smidge is standing in the hallway yelling, "Door!" John is screaming out the window, "It's the countertop men!" And I'm swearing under my breath, wondering just how weird it would be to have James answer the door and show them where to start while I stayed put. Hmmm... Nah, so we relay the message down the hallway that I'll be "right there" and I scramble grudgingly to don some clothes and put on a happy face.

But in spite of my enthusiasm over having countertops (and the enthusiasm bordered on censorable, believe me), I did not have a happy face. The first thing Installer Guy says is, "So, are you ready for us?" No. No, actually, I'm not. I was taking a bath, which may seem like no big deal for you, but you are not forty pounds heavier than usual with loose ligaments and a thin sheen of fiberglass insulation coating your sensitive parts, now, are you? Argh. One thirty-second phone call would have saved me a whole lot of grief and frustration. (Of course, that was my inner dialogue. All that actually came out was, "No, actually. I was told to expect a phone call to set up a time. *maniacal smile*.") It's now midnight and I never did get my bath. Hmpf.

BUT, it's all worth it. The countertop is splendid. It blends perfectly with the range and the cabinets. It flows. It holds stuff off the floor. It looks so... intentional. Thanks to the wonderful sample sheet, the paint we picked for the walls highlights it perfectly. It's beautiful.

Zorak loves it. He keeps muttering, "swanktastic", and making up other words to convey his pleasure. He also keeps caressing the edges in a way he hasn't done since we bought The Mistress.

The boys love it. We ate supper at the breakfast bar tonight, and it was great. Smidge stayed put and actually ate (been an issue lately, but once he falls off the bench at the table, his concentration is shot and he's off 'n running). John not only finished first, but had seconds and then stayed there to hang out and visit (oh, joy - that is so what we were shooting for!!) James said, "Thank you for making the kitchen like this." ?? Like what, Hoss? "With this breakfast bar we can sit at and hang out in. We can do stuff here, and I like that. So, thank you." Mmmm, that's exactly why we did this place the way we did, kiddo -- for you guys, for us, for the whole team. They love it.

The boys and I felt indescribably decadent sitting on the futon while the installers worked. But what else could we do? At one point, I nudged James and said, "So, how does it feel to have someone else doing the work on something around here?" He giggled and said it felt really good. He's right. It did feel pretty good.

But I could really have used a bath, and that was the last of the grapefruit soda. I suppose that when I do get one, though, it'll be all the better for the wait. And I can set my cup on those magnificent countertops!

But now I'm pooped, and am off to bed.
Kiss those babies!

Wednesday, December 28

Banish That Hillbilly Porch Decor!

I wish I knew how to make nifty accent marks, but hey, who needs to use them when you've also used the word "hillbilly" in the same sentence?

Today we cleared off the front porch. It's not that we use it, er, rather that's been the problem. We first used it as the construction debris holding cell - both bathrooms ended up on the porch until the construction dumpster we rented could be delivered. Unsightly, but functional. Also, perfectly obvious that this is "construction trash", not... you know, the other kind. Then we used it as a staging area for large appliances that had no home yet, for splitting kindling, and for setting the trash somewhere other than the foyer. Again, functional, but growing increasingly unattractive.

Fast forward seven weeks... and ya know, while the toilets and forty tons of plaster and tile have been removed many days past, the washing machine (not a trashed one, but mine) is sitting there, looking quite at home. We've got Ben's cooler sitting out there, too, some fire bricks, the grill, remnants of a horrible trash day episode I'd rather forget, a few other miscellaneous things, stray wood, an axe, and a plethora of pine cones (because no, since you must ask, I cannot start a fire like a normal person and Zorak won't let me rip the paper off the insulation even though it clearly says it will burn... so, the boys collect pine cones and when they've dried on the porch, I use them like mini-bombs to jumpstart the fire in the mornings). But I digress...

The porch had gone from clearly construction trash status to borderline "someone's gonna post this on one of those shame sites" status. And while it bothered us, let's face it, we've had other things to contend with. As long as one could get in and back out without inflicting arterial damage to one's person, it was easy to ignore.

But today - *poof* Like magic, the front porch has gone from slightly imposing and creepy to bright and fresh and "hey, we can hang out here and look for stars". Ooooo. OK, it wasn't magic. We just all got out there and put things where they belonged, swept, and sorted. That was worth the whopping half hour it took, wasn't it? Sadly, yes, it was. I'm just ashamed that it took so long to get around to it. I think Zorak will enjoy the difference when he comes home tomorrow and pulls up to a home that looks lived in rather than squatted in.

The wood was delivered and set far enough away that if we don't use all of it by spring, it won't be an organic beacon for critters to gather near the house over the summer. (Yet, thankfully, slightly uphill, so even I can bring in wood when necessary- just push it with my feet, if I have to. Yay. It's the small things.)

Tomorrow is countertop day! Yippee! Guess I ought to remove the chipboard and mdf we've been using since Christmas night...

The boys had their semi-annual bath tonight. OK, I'm joking. And I realized immediately after writing it that after describing the front porch, I probably shouldn't joke about things like that. Ah, well, it's a weird world. Anyhow, all that just to say it was a normal day. A nice day. A productive day, and a wonderful day. The boys all piled on John's bed for ten minutes of quiet reading time. They just wanted to be together. So I added time to their regular reading time and split it in half - first half together, second half in their own beds. (They do need that alone time, as well - not touching anyone, not talking to anyone - to help unwind a bit). We read stories. Everyone needed water. Random bathroom trips. I know this isn't what every mother envisions for the ultimate bedtime routine, but it feels very good. I'm thankful to have these boys to read to and bring water to, and even to remind for the umpteenth time not to dawdle in the bathroom at bedtime. This whole experience wouldn't be the same without them. And I'm thankful.

Zorak just walked in, kissed me, and said, "Boy, it feels really good to step onto a finished surface." Yes, I'm thankful. And if the weather's nice over the weekend, we can picnic on the front porch.

Kiss those babies!

WOOHOO - Wood!

We broke down and bought a cord of wood to be delivered to the house. The delivery date was "sometime this week", so we've been waiting it out and watching our current supply dwindle (did I tell y'all that story?) The guy just called and will be here in about an hour! YAY!

And as an added bonus, it's been so lovely here yesterday, through the night, and today, that we haven't needed a fire for the first time since we moved in. I can clean the wood stove out. Yahoo!

There's sheetrock on one wall of the living room now, thanks to Zorak. Insulation in the dining room, and paint in the hallway today. I didn't think about texturing the rest of the bathroom before I painted the hallway, though, so that's going to have to wait a few hours, but it'll be done and ready to prime tonight. Oh. How. Thrilling.

And wood! Yay!

Kiss those babies!

Tuesday, December 27

Slowing Down a Bit

Well, it was bound to happen. I saw it coming, but I'm still not happy about it. I have an inner control freak to feed, you know. But here it is, and today about all I accomplished was picking up the kitchen faucet and general domestic work. I'm sure Zorak is starting to Suspect that I'm malingering. But I'm not, really. Physically, I feel great, other than the normal third trimester aches and pinches. The problem is my head. My head's just a little fuzzy. It's as if I've broken my mental fine tuning knob and can't. quite. see. the next thing to do.

I realized this morning, as I cleaned up the third puppy puddle, relegated the middle boy to cleaning up the styrofoam he'd shredded with a stick all over the dining room (All by myself? Yes, dear, all by yourself, just like you made that mess in the first place *smile*), pointed out to the eldest child that if he had been picking things up off the floor like he was *supposed to be doing* he wouldn't have ground that orange slice into the rug in his room, tracked the trail of spilled egg nog from the kitchen sink back to the eldest son's boot (he has no peripheral vision, I'm convinced of it), steer-roped the youngest child for the umpteenth time to try to get the snotsicles under control (drawback to homeschooling: he hasn't been sick enough to become a proficient nose blower yet), and kicked that stoopid Thomas toy for the fourth time in as many minutes...

... that I needed to set some goals and get on them, or Zorak was going to come home to find the children and the dog locked outside and me in bed with a book and my own box of tissues.

So I set five goals for today:
1 To the Pet Depot for supplies (ie - something for the puppy to chew on other than Smidge's feet, no wonder the child thinks he's going to be eaten)
2 To Home Depot for a kitchen sink (so the installers can drill the sink out for it while they're here and we don't have to mess up a perfectly nice sink ourselves)
3 Wire outlets for the living room (Zorak got off early today because he went in at some unholy hour, and he's ready to sheetrock those two walls)
4 Hang insulation in the dining room, and if I have time, wire those outlets, too.
5 Make turkey soup and pumpkin bread for supper (the carcass is simmering now)

I accomplished #'s 1, 2, and 5. That was it. Zorak put in the last two rows of insulation while James and I wired outlets, but it wasn't ready when he got home this afternoon. The soup was tasty, though. That's gotta count for something. If it doesn't, then it ought to. And I did throw together pumpkin muffins for the boys' afternoon snack and a loaf of pumpkin bread for breakfast tomorrow.

My children need me right now, and ironically, I need a nanny. Not for them, for me. In the professional world, they refer to them as Personal Assistants, or even Executive Secretaries. But they're nannies: responsible, organized adults who take care of, run herd on, tend to, and otherwise assist those of us who just can't get that grip on the next thing. I should have plopped my butt down on Santa's lap last week and asked for one. What's he going to say? No? (Well, yeah, but that's beside the point.)

Anyhow, that was the day today. Pretty mundane, boring stuff, unless egg nog spills excite you. In that case, it was a banner day.

Oh. Smidge. My wee Smidge. I spotted him tonight, sitting on the top bunk with his back to the ladder, head bobbing side to side like he was at a Raffi concert. Spider sense went off (a bit late, might want to get my batteries checked) so I called and asked him what he's doing. He flipped around with the biggest deer-in-the-headlights look I've ever seen, and both cheeks completely puffed out. It seems he has discovered James' stocking stash. The little nutmonkey waits for James to be otherwise engaged, then hightails it up the ladder to pillage the loot. I have no idea how long this has been going on, but at least when I asked him if he was eating James' candy, he nodded happily and 'fessed up. Tomorrow I will reimburse James from Smidge's stocking and James gets the fun task of trying to find a place to hide his things from his wily and stunningly stealthy-for-a-2-year-old baby brother. Ah, the joys of being the eldest sibling.

I sure wish some of y'all would get blogging regularly again - I don't get nearly the RDA of relaxing front porch time lately. ;-)

Kiss those babies!

Monday, December 26

Coming Down, Posting Pictures, and Getting Back to Work

I don't wanna get back to work!! OK, whine over.

We're down to just a few things in the living room and dining room and then they will be done for now. I have 2 or 3 weeks left until this baby arrives, and Zorak is beginning to get panicky, so he worked his tail off today on the wiring in those two rooms. I get to insulate them tomorrow and wire the outlets, then we'll hang the drywall on them when he gets home in the evening. The holidays are over.

Next on the agenda is the laundry closet. Hauling all of our clothing to the laundromat once a week or so is: (a) too expensive to make sense, and (b) too much of a test of my creative mothering abilities to stand at this point. Before this month, the last time I'd done my wash in public, I was single and hungover. I can honestly say it's much more fun in that condition. You can take a book and your Hi-C/Mountain Dew remedy and just hibernate near the warmth of the dryers and wait for the world (and the wash) to stop spinning. When you're sober and trailing three children, it's a whole new world. Not a pretty world, either. So. I need a laundry closet pronto. :-) But Zorak says we need to have more things actually in a finished state before moving on to another project. *snort* Fine. Be all organized and logical about it. One of us has to, at this point, I suppose.

We will have counters tomorrow, Tuesday, or Wednesday. Totally depends on who cancels or not over the next couple of days. The wonderful Corian folks have us on the top of their cancellation fill-in list, so if any spot opens in Northern Alabama, it's ours. Bwaaahaaahaaaaa!!! Of course, that means the boys will be dragged to Home Depot tomorrow to buy a kitchen faucet before their wee little stomachs can digest whatever gruel I throw at them at o'dark hundred. Wonderful way to start the day when there are Hot Wheels tracks and train sets beckoning to you in a warm, comfy home.

The boys and I have so enjoyed this break. It's been fun to be normal again (relatively speaking, I know). It's been nice to get to bed a bit early and read, read, read until the boys slowly drop off, one prolonged blink at a time. It's been fun to sit with them and talk with them over mid-morning snacks, to run errands that take them nowhere near Lowe's or the local hardware store. I'm a bit sad that the break is over, but as the caffeine kicks in, I'm ramping up and will awake tomorrow with the requisite enthusiasm to dive in.

Zorak, not so much. It's difficult for him to block out the wiring and empty studs and just read something non-tehnical. He can't justify spending the entire day on the futon, sipping coffee, eating pie and reading quietly. Drives him nuts, when there is work to be done. I admire his work ethic, and that is a large, large part (ok, the majority) of what has brought us to this point. It's good. It's just so... foreign to me. I have the power to block it all out and pretend it's normal to do things by extension cord. I keep one tucked into my hip pocket, as a matter of fact, just so I always have power when I need it. (The trailing cord also makes it easy for the boys to find me when I get wedged somewhere and begin shouting for help. See? If you just remain adaptable...) But no. So he took the required day off yesterday from all work. He cooked, played, talked, laughed, and awoke this morning All Business, wiring and masonry bits and such. I'm thankful for him. He is the reason we will one day have a home we can allow visitors to enter without getting an OSHA pass.

So, since tomorrow it's back to work, I'll inundate you with Cute Kid Pics from the past couple of days. :-) A word of caution: so far, this has been the Christmas of Truly Bad Photographs. I don't know if it's the camera, or the photographers, but Zorak and I laughed hysterically while we looked through the pictures of the last few days. Some are just bad. Some are unintentionally hilarious (and still bad). And some... we can't figure out what happened. Like the blurry, late '60's photography we've got going on with a few shots. Dunno what's up. Sorry.

Breeding Elves aside, what James really, truly, deeply wanted this year was a first edition Buck Rogers something or other collection. And, since Santa doesn't shop at the used bookstore, but we do, he managed to get it. ;-) This rather fuzzy Big Foot sighting, er, shot of James, shows him in a state of pure ecstasy upon opening that gift from his brother.

The rest of the day, he looked a lot like this...

When he didn't look like this...

Smidge opened only one gift before noon...

That was all he needed.

John, while enjoying the hot wheels tracks and his copy of Dragonology, really has found a soul mate in Balto. This is the sitting version of what he's looked like the past two days. The mobile shots look like NASCAR race photos taken with a very slow camera. Lots of activity around here. This dog and these boys have been inseparable.

Zorak took this shot of the family hanging out on the futon this evening, just after supper (please pardon the fact that my children are filthy - it's the stocking chocolate and puppy spit combo, I think, but it did come off with a little hot water and an SOS pad.) The dog is technically on Smidge's lap, with his head on my leg. He blends into my sweater, but he's there.

And so, we're off. Kiss those babies, and enjoy your Forever.

Sunday, December 25

At The End of The Day

It's nearly nine, and I think we will all be out by nine-thirty. Smidge has been asleep since just before our company turned off the driveway onto the main road. Zorak is asleep on the couch between the boys. He has a cup of coffee in his hand. It's full. Fortunately, it's no longer hot. I tried to get it from him, but he has an iron grip. So I tried to wake him and explain the situation - you are sound asleep on the couch with a full cup of coffee upright in your hands. Without waking, he mumbled, "pretty amazing, isn't it?" But he didn't let go of the cup. The boys are hanging on only to play one round each of the Lord of the Beans Game and then they're off to bed. And I... in about twenty minutes, I'm going to curse not getting a bigger fridge as I try to stuff leftovers into every nook and cranny I can find. But other than that, I plan to put the food away, let the puppy out, stoke the fire and collapse into a deep, richly earned comatose state.


OK, I lied. It's now nine thirty, and while the dishes have been cleared, the fridge stocked, the kitchen tidied, the dog put to bed, and the fire stoked, I'm no longer tired. Go figure. Zorak finally migrated to bed, and he stoked the fire for me before he retired. Yay him. Now he's warming my side of the bed (a serious benefit of marriage, provided I can move him over in order to enjoy it when I head to bed, myself).

James is out cold. He feels better, but sounds disturbingly like Darth Vader when he breathes. I left a light on so it won't scare Smidge if he wakes.

Balto kept escaping his box (new trick, that didn't take long) to go sleep under John's bed, and John is thinking of ways to get me to allow Balto to sleep under his bed. (There is one way, and one way only - the dog must know that we do not run an indoor/outdoor restroom facility. Period. Until then, he sleeps where he must alert me when he's gotta go. Still, I do admire John's tenacity.) After retrieving the dog from under John's bed for the third time (yes, it was as humorous an image as you think, and yes, I got stuck more than once), I moved the dog's bed into the boys' room. That seems to have mollified his desire to be with the rest of the pups, per se. Either that, or the dog has decided the direct route will not work with me and has agreed simply to pretend he'll sleep in his bed - just long enough for me to leave the room, anyway. That'll work.

We had so much fun preparing food today. We learned that the convection feature on the electric oven ROCKS. It cooked an 18# turkey in an hour and a half at 350. I checked on it when I added something to the oven and, well, the thing looked done. Not "coming along nicely", but "done, ready to eat". The popup thingy had popped, too (not that those are accurate, but I was surprised). I told Zorak that it looked done. He said there's no way it's done. We had a weird exchange:

I poked it - clear juices (and copious amounts of them, too) flowed from the fully cooked turkey. "It's done. The juices run clear."

He comes into the kitchen, smirking. "Where did you poke it?" Zorak asks.

"Shyah, alright Mr. SmartyChef, you poke it and see for yourself."

He pokes it. Then he pokes it in several other spots.

Pause for dramatic effect.

"You are so weird," he says. "It's done. Take it out."

Thanks, Honey.

Well, anyhow, that threw off our entire plan. We have never had so much going on in the kitchen at one time. Normally it takes six to eight hours to get everything baked, fried, and steamed. Not today. Although it did take us forever to get done, that was more due to our lack of preparation and not having any countertops yet. It is a neat sensation, though, when it dawns on you that you can put the whole turkey in the small oven to keep it warm. And the dressing, too. At one point, the big oven held two large pans of dressing and three pies. Ok, that's not something you can do everyday. Ohhhhh, wait, yes, we can!! Cool! We just have to get used to it, now, and learn to plan cooking days more efficiently. But how totally fun.

We made the turkey and dressing (wheat-free and absolutely delicious dressing, even for wheat-eaters - all the bread products and pastries were wheat free and they turned out wonderfully), sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, ambrosia, cranberry sauce, corn, green beans, cornbread, biscuits, pumpkin pies and pecan pies. The pies got a tad overdone due to our inability to learn from our mistakes (yeah, if it'll do that honkin' bird in an hour and a half, the pies aren't going to need anywhere near the recommended time... remember that next time, Dy.) Still, it was all edible and I don't think anybody went hungry. So, that's good.

The boys have declared this The Best Christmas Ever. Zorak and I agree. We had a lovely, quiet morning with our children and their joy. We enjoyed the many blessings we have in the forms of health, friendship, love, laughter, understanding and security. I have to tell you about my wonderful Christmas gift, but would like to include a photo of it, so that'll have to wait until tomorrow. It makes me teary-eyed, though, and it's beautiful. Best of all, the boys made it themselves. It's awesome.

And on that note, I'm going to go see if anybody else blogged on Christmas night. Have a lovely day tomorrow, and as always,

Kiss those babies!

Merry, Merry Christmas

Oh, what a wonderful day this is! It's three o'clock, the pies are nearly done. Ben & Claudia and their boys will be here soon (I hope), and we've had a magnificent day. I hope you are all enjoying your Christmas, too.

Smidge came to our room this morning around four, and in his disoriented state, could have sworn there was a dog-dog in the room. Oh, no, honey, I've only been asleep for an hour. There's no dog. But LOOK, Daddy's here and he's warm and snuggly and pleasegobacktosleepnow. Fortunately, he's young and trusting and he did go back to sleep.

The puppy (Balto, by the way, it's official) had been moved from the living room to our room after the fourth bout of whining. Turns out he doesn't make a sound unless he has to pee. Very cool, although it took me a bit to catch on. Yeah, I'm slow sometimes.

Around six thirty, I heard a wee, awe-filled voice heralding the news.
"Mom, there's a puppy in the house. *pregnant pause* Santa brought me a puppy!"
I thought from the tone and softness of the voice that it was John, but when I opened my eyes, there was James, looking every bit the small little boy I haven't seen in him in so long. He was wonder-struck and delighted. John, too, came in to proclaim the news. He, too, was just as awed with the puppy. Smidge sat bolt upright and screeched, "DOG-DOG!" (which is just one word when you are two).

Balto hung out with us while we opened presents, and then when Zorak and I headed to the kitchen and the boys to their room to set up their Hot Wheels Tracks, Balto ditched us big folks and plopped down among the boys. He has claimed his pack, and he is content. That he recognized that relationship gave Zorak and I warm fuzzies of gigantic proportions.

The boys have learned that as soon as Balto awakes, you load him up and take him outside. He will do his thing. We will love on him. John then gives him a dog biscuit (this puppy is going to be obese once he catches on to that correlation). Life is good, and the floor stays dry. *whew* They let him sleep when he's tired, and give him space to come to them as he chooses. They are gentle and sweet toward him. He trembled and whimpered in his sleep this afternoon, and James gently stroked his fur and whispered consolations into his ears. Balto calmed down immediately. I oozed into a puddle of emotion and water in the kitchen.

Balto's no bigger than a football, yet Smidge is convinced that when the puppy prances up to you, it is going to eat you. The only thing for it is to yell 'noooooooooooooo' as you hightail it to the nearest adult, and scamper up the adult's leg if you can. Really, it's best that way. Just ask him. We feel like jackasses for laughing, but it's hilarious to watch. (And yes, for the record, we do hold and comfort Smidge and help distract the pup. No serious therapy bills looming from these incidents.)

Saturday, December 24

The End of the Evening

What a beautiful day. I spent several hours with ammonia and 0000 steel wool on the windows in the main living space. Funny how different things look through them now. Um, ewww. Ah, well, like I said, it wouldn't have made much difference before, anyhow. But now it's great. Someday I'll go outside and do that part, too. (Maybe.) The boys wrapped presents and sang songs. We enjoyed the next few bits of the interactive nativity. We ate like kings and cleaned like scullery maids - and the end result is quite nice.

The boys, unfortunately, were then hit with some kind of Ick. It came on this afternoon and laid them out like Tunguska. You know they don't feel well when they voluntarily crawl in bed for a nap. It's Christmas Eve! There are presents to wrap! Cookies to bake! And yet they napped. Poor little guys. We woke them for supper, let them open Polar Express and we all watched it together, snuggled under fleece blankets. They enjoyed it, and then they headed back to bed. All three have been out cold since hitting the pillows. I hope the morning finds them feeling better. On the upside, the Ick has already made its rounds through Ben & Claudia's place, so they can still come for supper tomorrow.

Zorak is en route to pick up the pup as I type. We are so thoroughly excited. The lady who gave him to us emailed the picture she'd taken in the parking lot, so, until we can post photos of the boys and their dog, here's a preview of a man and his dog. Ohhhhh, this is fun!

I suppose I should go wrap presents. Or finish cleaning the kitchen. Or do something productive. But it feels so nice not to have anything truly pressing to do at the moment. When we got this first bedroom into a sustainable condition, we were able to move the plastic sheeting that's been hanging in the foyer and the hallway entries into the living room. It's now hanging only over the doorways to the last three bedrooms. We have reclaimed the hallway, the first bedroom and the main bath, and it feels so very good. It feels so spacious. The wood stove is earning its keep, as well; it is WARM in the bathroom, and as a pregnant woman in her third trimester, I can honestly say that is a Very Happy Feeling for me.

Thank you for your comments and uplifting thoughts. They mean ever so much as we settle in here and begin the process of putting down roots. This is Forever. It is ever changing, always dynamic, unexpected and astounding. It won't always be easy, but it hasn't ever been. Yet it's always, always good.

Kiss those babies and have a Very Merry Christmas,

Merry Christmas Eve

So last night, in addition to getting the computer up and running, I got to sleep - for the first time in nearly a month - in our own bed! Oh, talk about refreshed and happy! I love and appreciate the futon, but I think I know why we found it sitting out - the thing sinks ever so slightly in the middle, so when five people pile on in the morning, woe is the mama who rolls deeply into the ditch in the middle and gets buried by the masses of bodies. I awoke this morning on a flat, level plane. Mmmmm, Merry Christmas, indeed.

Zorak and I are like a couple of kids at, well, at Christmas. We are totally psyched. We'd decided a while back that this would be The Year For A Puppy. (Did ya hear that, Aunt Bonnie?) James has had to have his dreams of a family pet put off repeatedly, as each new stage turned out to be not-what-we'd-expected. He's been so good about it. John doesn't really think it will ever happen at this point. Smidge? Well, hey, he's two, so we'll just have to find another way to mess him up later on.

So we began our search for a lab mix, or a coondog mix. Whatever it was, we knew it needed to be a mutt, a male, and a puppy. It needed to need a home full of love and adventure and security. And it needed to be Just The Right Dog. As of yesterday, we had begun to give up hope of finding him. But then, as Zorak turned to leave the pound, he met a lady with a puppy... a mutt puppy, an abandoned puppy she'd found in her yard, a little mellow male puppy. He'd been refused at the shelter because they are full, and Zorak, who has a very strange (yet positive) effect on women, ended up leaving with the puppy, toys from another woman and her daughter, a photo of him with the puppy, and some email addresses. Someone mentioned a "Christmas Miracle", and I'm pretty sure someone got teary-eyed. To be honest, I can't even imagine how that one played out. Those things don't happen to me. But they do to Zorak, and Our Puppy has found us.

He took the pup to Ben & Claudia's to stay until this evening. I went over last night to visit with him, and left absolutely floored that Zorak had found Just The Right Dog at Just The Right Moment. He's perfect. He's going to be big. He's got a great personality. I am in love. Zorak is in love. The boys are going to be completely in love. And what's so great about all this love is that we have the space, the time, the resources, to spend on this little guy in welcoming him into the family and making him a part of our lives. How absolutely cool.

LB asked me if I was sure I wanted to take on a new puppy and a new baby within just a few weeks of each other, and I started laughing (perhaps a bit maniacally). It's not like we haven't passed into the realm of the absurd several months ago. Might as well get all the big changes over at once, right? Besides, this will lessen the boys' disappointment in not getting the infrared nightvision goggles (John) or the pair of breeding elves (James) they'd asked Santa for.

My only concern at the moment is that we are going to throw Smidge into a series of epileptic fits from which he may not recover. Everything this child sees sends him into spasms of joy and pleasure. The lights, the ornaments, the cookies, the trees. Even the plain, undecorated trees will get him quivering. Throw a strand of lights on it and he's visibly vibrating. Break out another strand and he's paralyzed with the trembles. I don't know that he's going to make it through Christmas morning without going into a four hour grand mal fit. I have never, in my life, seen someone enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas the way Smidge does. But this year, I know how he feels.

Kiss those babies!

And We're Live in 5... 4... 3...

Happy Holidays from the Forever Home!

Yes, yes, we are alive and well. Not that y'all would have known that if it weren't for Jess (thank you, Jess!! I love you!), but we are here. You know you haven't blogged in a long time when your husband spontaneously blurts out one evening, "Can you get somewhere to a computer and blog?"

Um... is the therapeutic benefit of blogging becoming evident? No, it seems he figures y'all were worried. Or he just didn't want to admit that I could use an evening with fresh coffee and some good old blogging. Whatever it is, I am now sitting in the first semi-finished bedroom (it has insulation, new wiring, drywall, subflooring, and the computer desk... oh, and a Mexican rug hanging in the window - it's one of our fancier window dressings, and it's wonderfully effective). What a gem of a man, I'll tell ya.

What have we been doing the last, um, three weeks? Working like no pregnant woman should ever work -- and enjoying every last, exhausting minute of it. The main bath awaits only primer and tile to be complete. The basement is mostly dry, and the Zen waterfall is losing its meditative powers. The wiring is brand new in the kitchen, living room, dining room, bath and one bedroom. It's ALL coming out as we go, and we're replacing it properly. Much like the plumbing (which is amazing, if I may say so myself, *ahem*), and the walls. We've completely re-wired the kitchen, installed our beautiful range, learned more about electricity than we have ever (ever) cared to know (and, for the record, be careful with that knowledge - the more you know, the more afraid you will be of the wiring job done in your home!!) The kitchen currently looks like a refugee Betty Crocker Test Kitchen that's landed at ground zero of a very frantic, mob-run construction project. And it's beautiful!!! The walls in the kitchen are up, textured, painted, and oogled by the minute. The cabinets came in (won't go into detail, but they are here and that's what matters, right?) and the countertops should be here early next week. We're actually to a point now where the windows could use a cleaning. (They've always needed a cleaning, but it wouldn't have mattered before - now, it'll show.) YAHOO! YA - FRICKIN - HOO.

I don't even know where to start. This whole experience has been simply amazing. Zorak and I both are so in love with one another, with our family, our home, and our life together. The first week or so had a few gear-grinding moments, but after ten years you learn that that's just part of the process. You grind, shift, and move on - together. This is the delayed gratification that cannot be replicated in the short run. It's good. It's oh, so good.

Had a slightly mortifying moment when the midwives arrived for our home visit last week - a day early. The day before trash day... the day Zorak was coming home at noon to hang drywall in the first bedroom so they'd have a separate room for appointments... the day I was on my way out the door with ten days' worth of retreaded laundry to wash... ARGH! They'd already seen me through the window, though, so there was nothing for it but to let them in. I figured they would either "get it" and think the whole process is pretty cool, or they would inform me that they simply could not attend a birth in this place. Have I mentioned before how absolutely cool they are? They "got it", they totally got it. The only other awkward moment that day was when one of them asked me if I was tired. That stumped me for a second. I paused, trying to figure out what she meant, then asked, "Do you mean right now, this instant?" She just laughed, and that's when I clicked that it was an iron-related question. OHHHHHHHhhhhh, rainBOWS. No, I'm fine. I mean, I'm exhausted, but it's a well-earned, healthy exhausted, not an anemic, sluggish exhausted. Yeah, I catch on quick, eh?

The boys. are. amazing. What more can I say? They are happy and frolicking. They're helpful and funny. They have added "flexible" to their list of qualities to look for in a wife, and I think it's because they truly understand how important it is to be flexible and roll with the punches. They have a room to themselves off the kitchen and dining room. It'll be the school room one day, but for now it's a bedroom of sorts. They love their beds, and their things. They have their routines slowly implemented into each day. Story time. Bed making. Forts and puppet shows. Oats, eggs and sausages for breakfast. They have developed a deep and abiding appreciation for hot water and the comforts it provides.

They are more excited about Christmas than I would have thought possible. We picked up a tree yesterday (yes, we have been slacking in the Festivity Department, we are, after all, mere mortals. We are also basically lazy mortals, and so the festive stuff gets sacked first when it's time to cull energy-sucking activities). I don't know if the boys are so cute, or we look so pathetic, but when they asked how much the trees at the lot were, the guy said, "Free. Just grab the one you want." OK. This is my 33rd tree, and other than the little juniper I uprooted by hand from a culvert one year and stuffed into an upturned ottoman, I have never had a free Christmas tree. That was incredibly cool. Even Zorak seemed pleased (and he is not a Christmas fan, by any means). Tonight they watched Christmas movies (nine bucks at Wal-Mart, and completely alleviates my guilt over not having cable for them to watch these things during the season), then decorated the tree. It was a decorating extravaganza, complete with dancing, singing, bouncing of random ornaments, and sparklies. Happy Children. Happy Mommy. Happy Daddy. Tonight Zorak and I experienced the most enjoyable, stress-free tree decorating session we have ever had in our ten years together. When the tree was finished (ie - it can hold no more ornaments without collapsing under the sheer weight), they jammied-up and we opened the interactive nativity I picked up. We enjoyed reading the poem and handling the pieces. It felt so... so... normal. It's been a long time since we've felt normal, and that in itself was a wonderful gift.

There's so much more to blog. So much to say. But this entry is long enough as it is. And we do have the fast-access DSL, so expect multiple updates each day for a while. In the two and a half years I've been blogging, I've never been gone so long. For those of you who still come by, thank you. You have made me smile with your humor and kind wishes. It's good to be back.

Kiss those precious, wonderful babies!

Sunday, November 27

I took photos specifically to post tonight!

Then I left the camera at the house. Drat. It's nothing terribly exciting, but I thought it was beautiful: cold water rushing from the bathroom faucets! Cold water filling the commode tank! We got some cute ones of the boys, too, but will save those for their engagement parties one day. *wink*

So. We have heat, water, and a toilet. My life is complete. The rest will fall into place. As Zorak pointed out, we can't quite call it "instant" gratification, but we're to the point of tangible results with each new day. That'll work.

The apartment is almost completely packed and what little is left is ready to load and move. And, of course, it's going to rain for the next two days, then snow and rain. *smile* (I have to smile, or I might cry.) Thank heaven for tarps!

Y'all keep saying you couldn't do this, but you know, you could. You really could. If you saw the place, with the sunlight glinting off the dew, heard the deer rustling around in the brush at dusk, and felt the warmth of the wood stove on your chilled toes, you'd probably be even less whiney about the process than I am (in real life). As for roughing it, we don't really rough it (other than the outhouse action). Tonight we had grilled chicken, green beans, and mashed potatoes for supper. We washed it down with hot coffee (gatorade for the boys), and enjoyed music with our supper (gotta love a clock/radio!) That's not so bad. I think most of us had it harder in college, trying to digest week-old pizza washed down with warm Dr. Pepper. Really, when you're working toward a dream, and you're doing it together, things become completely do-able. It just has to be your dream, and your team, to make it feel that way.

And I also must 'fess up here, and say that it's all Zorak. He's the man behind the action. Lately I just waddle around, playing gopher and, occasionally, apprentice. (Like tonight, I got to play with the plumber's putty!) Mostly, though, I sit and hand him things and groan when the baby jams a leg up my esophagus. I put things back and vacuum a lot. Pretty useless, to be honest. He's the one hashing out the codes and whether there's a better way to do things, while I sit there, staring at the hole in the wall, thinking, "NOW, I understand why construction is generally so shoddy - by the time they get to this point, the entire crew is ready to just use Liquid Nails on everything, slap some paint on it and call it good." About all I do is keep him focused on deadlines and provide the occasional comic relief (as this evening, when we discovered -- too late -- that I can no longer fit between the studs). Yup, he's The Man: Daddy, Husband, HomeBuilder, Dragon Slayer, Swashbuckling Hero. I am so freakin' lucky!

And now, to finish the task!

Kiss those babies!

Friday, November 25

Fine. We may never have running water.

I honestly don't care. We do have heat, and windows. And the floor isn't going to collapse anymore. That's more than I can say for a couple of the places we've rented in our lives. Besides, running water is so overrated. We can get a filter and haul water up from the creek. Or we can gather it from the basement when it rains. Either way, we will be living in the house come Monday, running water or no running water.

Actually, it would all be *done* tonight, if we hadn't decided to eat a celebratory meal at Fire Mountain (aka - The Motherlode of Local Buffet Joints). We went with great plans to feast, revel a bit, then return Home to complete the few menial, small -- yet startlingly important -- tasks that await before we may urinate indoors and quit freaking out the local wildlife, who are thinking, "Okay, OKAY, we get it. It's yours. Sheesh. Just quit, already."

Unfortunately, we ate until all five of us were just to the bursting point. And I mean that literally. Smidge's diaper exploded not five minutes after we left, and as the poor child had eaten himself into a coma, he never budged. Zorak only avoided puking because they did not have carrot cake on the dessert table tonight - otherwise, it'd have been a Monty Python skit like you've never seen performed live. The boys will make great farmers, if their appetites are any indication. And I? Well, let me just go on record as saying that, even this pregnant, I could eat the 72oz. steak in Amarillo in under an hour - and live to tell about it. (Well, I'd live, anyway...)

So we bailed and came back to the apartment. You know, so we could wallow in our own beds rather than on the futon or the floor. Besides, once we're out tonight, I doubt any of us would notice if the heat quit and the temperature plummeted drastically. We're really. Really. Full.

However, we're CLOSE. And it's good. And the bathroom looks quite nice (I love seeing the faucet through the doorway as I walk down the hall!) The stove was delivered successfully today. Funny little mix-up on that one - the warehouse never called to schedule a delivery after they cancelled Wednesday, so I called the warehouse this morning, just in time to receive the lovely news that our place was "the next stop on the list this morning"! Oh. Um. Should probably wake the children, then, and get out there, eh? (Did nobody tell these people we aren't living there? Guess not.) We made it out; I threw bananas and water at the boys (breakfast of recovering POWs!), dragged the commode out of the foyer (don't laugh - it's been really cold on the porch) and made way for (bugles blare in the background) THE RANGE. The delivery guys were nice enough to set it up, let me ogle it, and then put the box back over it to prevent me from wasting all day touching it, er, anything from damaging it while we finish remodeling...

We signed all the paperwork for our propane, so it'll be setup on Monday. Yippee. (I'm thinkin' we probably ought to pick up a water heater sometime this weekend. "Some Guy" has one for sale, but we can't find him now, and time's gettin' short.) We ran many errands, cleaned many rooms, and I must remember to double check pockets before doing laundry - James filled a 20oz. cup with acorns from one of his pants pockets before bed tonight.

Kiss those babies!

Thursday, November 24

The Remodel... Thankfulness

We spent the night at the Forever Home again last night. Zorak had cut some oak from a tree knocked down during Katrina. Not only does it look absolutely charming stacked neatly along the edge of the front porch, but, mmmm, it burns much better than the, er, scrap stuff we've been burning - warm and wonderful all night long.

The boys piled into a tent in the kitchen. Zorak and I stayed up late, talking and drinking coffee at our Favorite Table. We talked dreams and surprises, wall colors and finishes, children and family. We strolled in the meadow and watched the stars turn in the night sky. We held hands, laughed about the amazing events that brought us here, to Alabama, to our "Home". Never would've guessed this is how our life would be, not in a million years.

We gave thanks, even, for the things that had made us angry or sad at the time of their occurrence, for it was each and every step we took that brought us here. It's the easy steps, the voluntary steps, that nobody, including us, has a problem being thankful for. But without the heartache, the fear, the uncertainty to push us down unexplored or undesired paths, we would not have come this route. And we are so thankful we did. It feels good to be in a place where we can look back and understand, be at peace with what has happened, and look forward to what will come.

Today we worked. Well, Zorak worked - he worked like a man possessed. I piddled around a bit, then took some much-needed special time with each of the boys. They needed that. I needed that. It meant I wasn't much use to Zorak, but he didn't grumble, and I appreciate that more than I can say.

James and I took a walk. We found another mystery fruit, discovered another type of oak on the property, followed a game trail, and made instruments from fallen nuts. I watched my little guy maneuver the trail, help me heft a fallen log, and offer to hold my coffee while I attempted to retrieve a mystery fruit for examination... and I melted with love and appreciation for this little man and how he is gliding into his new skin so nicely. He's mighty impressive.

Then I snuggled with Smidge, sang him songs, shared his chips. He fell asleep cradled in my arm, his hand in mine, and a smile on his face. That's more like it.

While Smidge was drifting off to sleep, John came and curled up beside me. He asked about The Man From Snowy River. I offered to watch it with him. We talked and talked and missed most of the movie, but had a really nice time. He got quiet. His head on my leg grew heavy, and his breaths slowed and deepened. I peeked down to see one exhausted little guy, worn out from trying to keep up and keep going. He looked so little, lying there with his lashes draped over his rosy cheeks.

I could have lumbered up at that point, with both boys asleep, but I stayed there, stroking brows and caressing backs. That part was all for me, and it was good.

Busy day tomorrow. But a great day today.

Kiss those blessings!

Wednesday, November 23

Mid-Move Check-In

Hi all! We stayed our very first night at the Forever Home on Monday night. I am amazed at the power of insulation - WOW - was it cold without it. Zorak, the WonderDad, got up several times through the night to stoke the fire and throw on more wood. The boys stayed toasty and warm. My heart burst with appreciation for him everytime I heard him rustling around the woodpile. What a wonderful man (I know I sure didn't want to get out of that warm bed to mess with it!)

Even with the late night stokings, though, I am glad there won't be any floor furnace to pee in, throw things down, or get branded with. And thanks for the humor on the previous post. Yes, if someone is in my home, uninvited (and let's be honest, folks, it takes a lot not to be invited, so that's an open-and-shut question) with less than honest intentions, well, it's "my home" for a reason. Firm believer in the Castle Doctrine, here! *wink*

Oh, guys! Mornings there are virtually indescribable. It's as if the night rained magic on the property, leaving a sheen of glittery pixie dust for the morning sun to dance through. Mist settles in the meadow and morning sunlight whispers through the dew-covered leaves. Everything is gold and white. It's breathtakingly beautiful. The boys were up and out the door before even a thought of breakfast could form in their minds (and for children who wake in the morning and whisper, before anything else, "I'm hungry...", this is big!) They checked on their favorite trees, looked for birds, followed a squirrel. They tromped and ran and dragged us out to the perimeter to watch the sun dance in the meadow and chase the mist away.

John said, "Oh, Mom! Aren't the berries lovely in the morning sun?"
James exclaimed, "And just think: we get to wake up here every morning, FOREVER!"
Smidge... well, Smidge squeaked and squealed and pointed a lot.

Zorak and I worked our tails off. We are so. close. I've got a mock kitchen set up now, almost ready for use. Well, it lacks a range (which will be here Friday), and a temporary sink (the KILZ is drying on the temporary cabinet for that). It's definitely Spartan, but even now has a wonderful Vacation Cabin feel to it. I think the house will keep that feeling once it's finished out and fully livable (the difference being that between Old Kinda Creepy Family Cabin Nobody Really Uses Anymore, and the final Vacation Cabin Filled With Luxuries Like Indoor Plumbing and Gourmet Foods.)

Today we pack some more here at the apartment, and then head back out to work. The toilet, vanity and sinks are going into the bathroom today. The plumbing is beautiful. (If plumbing can be said to be beautiful... well, yes.) Now that we can see the end of the tunnel, I can envision actually decorating the walls of the tunnel - and bookshelves! That's exciting.

Oh - I went to the Piggly Wiggly the other day. It was neat, and had a wonderful feel to it. I felt like such a local chick. Then I realized two things: I can't say Piggly Wiggly w/o laughing, and I think it's "neat" to go to the Piggly Wiggly... so no, I still ain't from around here... But I am starting to blend!

Y'all have a great Wednesday! Kiss those sweet babies!

Saturday, November 19

********drum roll, please********

We have indoor heat!

Zorak just called (yes, at ten-thirty at night) to say the eagle has landed, or the chicken is cooking, or whatever needs to be stated on such a momentous occasion. No matter how you phrase it, the behemoth iron box is producing heat and warming the cockles and crannies of our Forever Home as I type.

Procuring enough stove pipe to create an entire chimney to specifications and fire codes took travel through three counties ('tis the season), but he perservered and has triumphed.

I can't wait to feel it. I can't wait to give him a great big hero's welcome home.



On Help

It is difficult for me to ask for help. That lovely trait often comes across as being proud or perhaps even a control freak. I can't even pretend to claim the first, and there are too many documented instances of the second to deny, but that's really not it when it comes to asking others for help. The biggest problem I run into is that most of the time I don't know what kind of help I need. When someone says, "What do you need us to do?" I draw a blank. The second I hear, "Let me know if you need anything," I cannot articulate what I might need. Not at all. I could be lying nekkid in the snow, starving and sick, and be unable to think to ask for a blanket, a steak and some penicillin.

Right now, I know what I need, though, and it's not helping. I need Mary Poppins to come sailing in with her carpet bag and take care of all the things I don't know are in need of tending to. I need Zorak to come home early and pamper me for a wee bit. I need him to come home early and let me pamper him a bit, too. Unfortunately, none of those are likely to happen.

So, considering the lack of a good carpet bag full of tricks, and the lack of downtime for Zorak and I, today was really, really nice.

The house is about 80% packed. I spent most of the morning tossing miscellaneous papers and preparing random boxes (The Daddy Box, for Zorak's misplaced items; The Craft Box, for stuff the boys have strange sentimental attachments to, like paper bits and pipe cleaners; The Document Box, for the pile of paperwork that refuses to subside since we closed on the house). Then, when I'd cleared a path (albeit a narrow one), I called on the brave souls who offered to help. They came with smiles and children, and it was nice. Claudia and Michelle did a fantastic job and, for the most part, the kids all played wonderfully together (outside! WOOHOO!) We got the majority of the apartment packed, and then hit what just felt like a good stopping point for the day. I can't handle clutter and need to move the packed boxes out so I can see what comes next. So, we put on a fresh pot of coffee and just sat and visited while the kids played a bit. Adult talk. Woman chat. That was very nice. Their presence was a big, big help all around. I feel very blessed, particularly after feeling so very isolated for so long.

You'd think the boys would be exhausted by now (I am), but no... they're bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. They are currently using the few toys left unpacked to make all the noise imaginable in their room. I'm hoping they will collapse once I get them to be still for five or ten seconds. We'll see if that happens.

Kiss those babies!

Quick Hi

The leasing office lady called today to see if we'll be out by Monday. I had no idea what to say (and I was covered in popcorn ceiling debris), so I just filled her in on the progress.

"Well, the propane line can't be run until the 28th, so we're trying to get a wood stove hooked up right now. It's in, but we need more pipe. Had a small electrical issue in the kitchen which needed to be handled before everything caught on fire - it's kind of dry now that we've stopped all the leaks - but the plumbing is back on schedule and we should have cold running water tomorrow. Friends are coming over tomorrow to help me pack, since we've been out here working all day and night. Um, we can keep the garage till the end of the month, right?"

There was silence for a bit. Then she said, "Well, it sounds like we'll have to go with the 28th, doesn't it?"

Um... that's not what I was aiming for (I just wanted her to know that we're working hard to get everything possible done ASAP), but... OKAY! I'll take that.

Hung up. Collapsed in a chair. Hopped back up because the rotozip was in the chair. And got on with the day.

Cut a lot of drywall today. Most of it incorrectly. In my defense, Zorak changed the plans twice on me, after I'd already measured and marked. There were more lines to follow than the Metro in DC. And, I'm bad at this stuff to begin with. So, there's drywall (greenrock, moldboard, whatever that stuff is) in the bathroom now. It took more work than it ought to have, but that's okay. As long as I didn't have to handle the electrical issue in the kitchen, I'd happily be there now, still cutting. It's a worthwhile trade-off.

Wonderful Neighbor Ben handled the Fixing of the Lighting in the kitchen. He made a lot of gutteral noises, but there was no screaming or falling, so I assume it went well. He's been such a blessing to us - not only is he wonderful help, but he has such a good attitude and keeps his sense of humor when things get weird (as I'm sure you've guessed, they have done that a time or two). We truly appreciate him.

Brought blankets and fuzzy soft things to put on the futon. Smidge was in heaven. He curled up on the futon with a blanket and a stuffed fleece hat/pillow thing and slept soundly and peacefully for two hours, even with reciprocating saws, shop vacs and hammers all being used in the same room. There's just something about wool and fleece that is so comforting. (She says, wiggling her toes inside wool socks and snuggling deeper into a fleece sweater. Hmm, I wonder where he gets it?)

The boys were much more inclined to at least give a nod to the rules of civilized behavior today. I appreciated that, and let them know. We split up for the drive out and back, so we each got some special time to dote on the children. John received a small set of tools to go in his tool belt - his pride and joy. He has measured everything in the house at least twice (and he's better at it than I am, that's for sure!) He's on a Big Guy roll, and was thrilled to help pump gas tonight - his cheeks flamed bright pink and he was obviously freezing, but I don't think he noticed it through the glow of accomplishment. James got to lock up the basement tonight all on his won. He was so very proud of the job he did - he even dragged a cinder block to the door so he could reach the highest latch and make sure he did the "very best job" he could. He beamed with real pride, and it made my heart want to burst with love.

I won a bet for a foot rub, but Zorak seems to have slipped off to bed, and I have a sneaking suspicion I won't be calling it in tonight. Perhaps I can still wedge in there for some snuggle time. (I'm just waiting now for my side of the bed to get warm before I head off - marriage has many perks, and although I didn't marry him for the bedwarming feature, specifically, it is a splendid bonus in the winter!)

Kiss those babies!

Friday, November 18

Surprise Walls

We've found some truly interesting things as we've been working on this project. Some of it's been scary, and some of it has caused us to laugh like kids at the carnival. We've developed our top five list of Things You Really Don't Want to Find in Your Walls...

5) Pennies in light sockets.
4) Hornet's nests for window insulation.
3) Pine cones.
2) Large chunks of daylight seeping through.

and the number one thing you really never want to see in the walls of your home...

1) Multiple snake sheds.

What are some strange things you've found in your home spaces?


Thursday, November 17

Good Thursday Evening.

Alright, I'm laughing so. hard. Laney's threatening my toilet (it's a threat, because you know Wee Joe's not far behind her with something new to offer to the toilet gods!) Thank you so much for the info on the check and statutes. I'm going to look up codes tonight once the boys are in bed. (They are currently jammied up and eating rice pasta with ham and pineapple and are convinced I'm a genius. HA! They're going to be irate when they find out you can just order that combo on a pizza, and that I won't do it.) Anyhow, I'd like to meet the leasing office in the middle, if we can. The other family waiting for an apartment sure didn't expect to walk into this, either, and their little ones are as important to them as ours are to us.

On the house, the glue is setting up on the Dr. Seuss Tree-looking under the floor parts for all the drains. (How's that for technical? I can hear plumbers' unions rallying against us as I type.) I have the stove board and a 90' elbow for the wood stove. Just need to set the thing in the corner so I can measure how much pipe we'll need to reach the vents. SO. Barring some unforseen (and don't anybody suggest any possibilities, ok?) circumstances, we will have running water and heat tomorrow. Friday. Not bad. Zorak works well under pressure. *grin* We're feeling pretty good about the progress. Still going to look up options, but in all, feeling pretty good.

John's dentist appointment went splendidly. The doc increased the amount of gum goo, decreased the amount of Novocain, and worked like a madman. Ta-da! No trouble, and John was grateful that the numbness wore off more quickly. Bonus! The next step will be his front teeth, and that's a whopper of a bill to pay without insurance, so he'll go in for that the first week in January.

The boys, in general, woke up this morning determined, on some deeply spiritual level, to test *everything* I said last night. When I informed them as we donned our shoes that they'd used up all my day's patience at breakfast, they were shocked. Dismayed. What will we do? ACK. We'll have to... *gasp* behave. ARGH! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! *groan* Well, that's over with. Hopefully tomorrow will go more smoothly now that they've mapped out the new terrain. (A Mom can hope, right?)

Tomorrow we'll head out early, breakfast at the house, work until early afternoon and then the boys and I will come back to pack. A lady from church is coming to take the boys and her kids to the park here in the complex, which will help tremendously. Zorak brought in all the flattened boxes last night, so I'm going to go stuff them with things and be productive.

Have a great night, and thanks for the laugh, guys. And the prayers. Both are coveted and appreciated.

Kiss those little envelope pushers er, babies!

Wednesday, November 16

Because This Was Just Too Easy...

Or we're handling it too well. Or there are evil spirits trying their best to thwart my efforts not to erupt like Vesuvius. Or just to throw a little creativity into the mix... Whatever the reason, we've just received a bit of bad news.

I'm stealing Sarah's mantra for this weekend:

I am a glacier. I am cool. I am calm. I am chilled. I am freakin' enormous and I will wear down anything in my path. I am cool. I am calm.

Remember when I paid this month's rent and asked for an extension to our 30-day notice? They said, "As long as we haven't rented your unit, sure!" I paid for the full month, and they cashed the full check. I called back twice that week to verify, but they still hadn't been able to find the records. They said they'd call if there was a problem.

That was three weeks ago.

They called tonight.

They found the paperwork. And it seems there is a family scheduled to move in Monday. Yes. Monday. Four days from now. (Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat mantra.)

The leasing lady had already called the new family and explained the snafu to them. They graciously agreed to wait until the 28th to move in. But that doesn't give us until the 28th to get out. Oh no. The office said they'll need us to hand in the keys on Monday. They need to "get the apartment ready", and with Thanksgiving coming, they'll be closed Thursday and Friday, so they really need the keys Monday. In the AM. (Repeat mantra, start eyeballing the Khaluah.)


Well, suffice it to say that Zorak, Dragon Slayer and Wonderful Provider, responded to the news as any provider would when faced with the very possible fear that he will not be able to provide. If this were someone else's life, I'd have found it funny that Mr. Uber Middle Child, who has spent the last ten years begging his Gypsy Wife to please-for-the-love-of-God-shut-up-and-stop-rocking-the-boat, suddenly began shouting, "WELL, I trust that you gave them a piece of your mind! You let them have it, didn't you?"

But it's not someone else's family, and so, it was just weird.

Um... no. (It's been a while since I've spiked coffee... how much would actually help?)

So, he and Wonderful Neighbor are still there, working out the initial panic attack. I asked one of the ladies from church to come take the boys to the park Friday afternoon (so I can speedpack). Claudia said she'd come help me finish the packing on Saturday. I will ask the Apt. Office if we can at least keep the garage through the end of the month.

When Zorak gets home, we will brainstorm the best way to mangle er, manage the situation and get heat into the house by Monday. When the lows are in the 50's, we can camp, but they've dropped into the mid-20's, and we aren't polar bears, so the heat needs to happen n-o-w.

John has another dentist appointment in the morning. We'll have been working several hours by that time, and then it's back into the fray. The boys and I had some extra snuggle time and an abbreviated family meeting tonight. We talked about the team effort. I let them know ahead of time that yes, I know this won't be a fun four days, and I understand. I let them know that we love them and that while my love for them will last forever, this stage in the process will not. I tucked them in with kisses and affirmations of total acceptance... and within just a few minutes, had two of three snuggled in my bed. Somehow, I think they get it more than they let on. So I laid down with them and stroked their sleepy heads, made them giggle, and kissed their brows.

Yes, I am calm. To panic right now would be to guarantee our failure. We may not manage to pull this off, but we owe it to ourselves and the children to try. Blogging may be light, or crabby, over the next four days. Please bear with us, and we'll return to our regularly scheduled perspective shortly.

Kiss those babies!

Classical Unschooling

And out of nowhere, a homeschooling post!

I've read several posts and messages the past few days that revolve around life upheaval and the decision to put children in school for a while. For the most part, it's all gone over my head, as it's just not an option for us. But today, after the four thousandth thread on the topic, I started to a) question my sanity, and b) wonder "why". So, lucky you, y'all get to sit in on this mulling session while my children forcefeed bathwater to a rubber crocodile. If the croc dies soon, though, this may be an abbreviated post.

A) The question of my sanity. I prefer to table this part of the discussion. The jury is out, being bribed, and will not be allowed out of the room until it no longer matters, or the verdict returns in my favor. I simply can't afford an indictment at this point.

There, that was easy.

B) Why? Why are we homeschooling? Why are we keeping the children at home amidst all the upheaval and chaos? Why don't we "just send them to school for a while"? Thankfully, nobody has come right out and asked us these questions. It may be that they trust that we make the decisions we feel are best for the boys. It may be that they're afraid of my German/Irish temper. It may be that the people in our lives realize it's just not their business and they wouldn't ask us anymore than we would ask them why they send their children to public school, or to private school, or buy boxers rather than briefs. I don't know. But now I'm asking myself, and that's okay. Even if the discussion turns sticky, I can't not speak to myself for more than four hours at a time, so the repercussions can't be that bad.

We homeschool for more reasons than we had with our Starter Set, that's for certain. Some are altruistic. (This is what's best for them.) Some are ideological. (This is the responsibility we have as US citizens, and we must prepare them to be productive, capable citizens.) Some are purely, wonderfully, deliciously selfish. (We really like being with our children.) Pick a reason, other than religious (well, no, even then, I do feel this is the stewardship God has given me - it's a doozie, and doesn't require I use Abeka or BJU, but I guess even that could be considered a religious reason), and your odds are good that you will hit on at least one reason from our list.

The chaos may adjust goals and plans, but it doesn't negate the reasons we do what we do -- it only alters the way in which we go about it. We certainly take a different route to achieving our lessons and making progress (and, yes, there are some things that are simply on hold until further notice). We don't, however, stop learning, stop reading, stop spending time together, stop having discussions with our children, simply because things have grown wonky. We don't believe James would receive anywhere near an adequate education in the public school system. We don't believe John would be nurtured academically in an institutional setting. And there is no way on God's green earth I'm leaving Smidge with somebody when he can't even tell me what's gone on while I was away! (But that's a whole other post.) We don't believe the boys would be given the preparation to handle life, learning, or loving any better in someone else's care.

So here we are, unschooling in a most academic manner. Or perhaps it's "Classic Lite", just as filling, but in smaller portions. It's possible we are not currently considered Classic Homeschoolers at all, but rather on hiatus from the Classical realm. (I still haven't read Climbing Parnassus, you know...) This is not what I envisioned three years ago. It's not what I planned six months ago. But it's going, and we're doing. Why stop? Why send them off each day? What would they truly get from doing that?

For some, there are positive answers to that question. For us, there are none. True, we're remodeling a house, and that takes a disproportionate amount of our time and other finite resources. Would the boys actually receive more attention, education, and nurturing in an institution each day? No, they wouldn't. Nor would all our blocking in the house be covered in penciled-in CVC combinations and geometry equations.

Yes, I could accomplish much, much more if I were able to hop in and out of plumbing stores and lumber yards with just me and my belly. Would the socialization the boys receive in an instutional setting surpass the quality of learning how to conduct business, figure bids, solder pipe, and in general be polite and well-behaved in public? *snort* Not a chance. Is that trade-off worth it in the end? Not for us.

Yes, I'm pregnant, which means I am swollen, hormonal, have the memory of a brain-damaged goldfish, and would love nothing more than to sleep for days on end. But that's happened before, and it could happen again. I've tried to find a lab that will offer short-term cryogenics so I can suspend the boys in time and defrost them later... but that's just selfish. They're going to live and learn and grow and change. It's my challenge to be there for all of it, even amidst the chaos of life itself. After all, that's what. this. is.

This is life.

This is our life.

It's not always easy.

But it is always good.

I can't change that or trade that, and wouldn't want to if I could.

Every family is different, and that's something I believe wholeheartedly. This post isn't a condemnation of those who've chosen another route. Not at all. I will admit that I have a difficult time wrapping my mind around the concept that not having my children near me will somehow make it easier to raise them, but that's only one perspective on a situation - and it's not the one that matters unless the children in question are mine. Does that make sense?

I guess, in short, our "why" is the same as everyone's "why", regardless of the actual choices: this is what we know is right for us. I'm not a big fan of the subjective morality plays or the multicultural every-contribution-is-of-equal-value ideology, but I am a huge fan of the family unit and its freedom and responsibility to make each decision an informed decision, and the one that IS best for that family. A year from now, our dynamics will have changed drastically. The boys will have grown tremendously. We will be different people who must, occasionally, as MFS highlighted in a quote recently (that wasn't the point of her entry, but it certainly stuck with me throughout the day), give a nod to the people we were today. Last year. Ten years ago. We want to be okay with that, and above that, we want to enjoy it. We want to smile and wave at ourselves of today. So that's what we'll do. And we'll recognize one another because we took the path we knew was right for us.

Yup. That's why.

The croc does sound like it's in need of help, though, and we have Pioneer Club in a few hours, so I'm going to pile them on the couch with some protein and read a good book with them. After all, this is life.

Kiss those babies! (And thanks for letting me ramble on the porch.)

Our Zen Water Cave & Why We Needed to be Married to One Another

It was quite a day: our stove was ordered and greenrock hung above the tub, the sinks templated and marked for cutting, water pipe layout designed, and children herded like wild kittens; the "light thundershowers" forecast for today morphed into one heckuva downpour. Zorak and I headed to the basement to grab the specs on the wood stove, killing time to wait out the onslaught so we could leave between floods.

It was then I heard it. The Zen Water Garden. The gigantic, Buddha-sized Water Garden. The part of my brain that's in denial tried to say it was someone flushing the toilet, or perhaps doing laundry. The very small part of my brain that's still semi-functional insisted that no, we have nothing to flush, that's simply got to be a water fountain. (Notice I've said nothing about my brain being reliable in either instance, only that it disagreed with itself on several levels.) Anyhow, I followed the sound to the Scary Room, and there we found it...

The biggest indoor waterfall we've seen since we hit the Rocky Mountain Knife Factory in Pigeon Forge, TN. Fifteen feet long, eleven feet high, and flowing at an unknown - although thoroughly impressive - rate.

Hey, honey, I think we've found another leak.

Ya think??

Zorak made a funnel from a gallon jug and the garden hose while I went in search of tar paper. He got the funnel set up to catch the water, then trekked into the darkness to divert the water from the house. Yes, we have a tar paper gutter system on the ground now, but this was an emergency. And it worked. We have it staved off temporarily, but that does explain a lot, as well as confirm our plans to move the gutters and install a French drain along the back side of the house.

Since we closed on the home, the weather has been positively perfect (read: dry). The last two times it's rained, we've dutifully checked the basement, the walls, the attic. All have stayed dry. The Smell emanating from the yucky room seemed to increase, but that room is so nasty that it's difficult to tell when something's gone "wrong" in there. Poor Rufus, our dehumidifier, however, went from being able to run for about 36 hours before filling up, to less than 12 before he was stuffed. Huh. Well, yeah, indoor waterscaping can do that to the humidity level in a room.

Now, why, one may ask, does this story highlight how important it is that Zorak and I married each other? It's simple, really. In this case, we were both needed to make the problem not become an issue. He didn't hear the water, so if it wasn't for me and my bird-dog like sense of hearing, he wouldn't have found the waterfall at all. Yet if it wasn't for him and his quick engineering-type thinking, I'd still be sitting in the Scary Room, watching it flow, thinking, "Yeah, this is bad. I hope it stops raining soon so I can slap some tar on the foundation... *sigh*" But together, we found it and stopped it. YAY US!! Things like this make up for the times I forgot to wash the whites or he didn't hear me beg for creamer on his way home from work. It's good stuff, the way we work together. I wouldn't want to be married to anyone else. Ever. He's the best.

Kiss those babies, and those wonderful co-conspirator loved ones. What would life be without them? (Mine would be rather wet and soggy.)

Monday, November 14

Don't Pass Out, BUT...

Our cabinets have been ordered!

If we had accomplished nothing else today, that would have been enough. I am satisfied. All is well. But wait, it gets better...

The Appliance Fairy dropped off a shiny new fridge!

Oh joy! It's huge, and the kitchen is empty, so it looks like an obscure tribute to crisp fruits and veggies - a large monolithic white... thing. And it's *sniff, sniff* beautiful.

But there's still more!

The midwives have several new clients up in our neck of the woods (which is, for their territory, more like the very tippy top of the head than the actual neck), and since there are so many of us who would be caravanning down to Birmingham for prenatals, they asked if they could use the house as the appointment spot for the Northern end of the state. Heckyeah! C'mon over! Granted, that means that at least one bedroom is going to need walls and perhaps flooring... maybe we'll roll out the red carpet and hang curtains for a little privacy... by mid-December, but that's okay. We can get ritzy and put in walls. It's for a good cause.

Zorak and I were really tickled that they felt comfortable asking us about it, and we were also thrilled that we're in a position to be able to help out. So many people have helped us in so many ways over the years. It feels good to open our doors, even if in such a small way, and be the ones doing the helping. Good stuff.

All is well with the baby. It's come to my attention that there are quite a few of the menfolk who read the blog, so I won't go all "pregnancy update" on you here. Just that she's fine. I'm fine. She's inherited Zorak's atomic elbow of death and if she doesn't move it soon... I'm getting scared. I stepped onto the scale, thinking, "Oh, this'll be funny." Um. Ok, shoulda defined "funny" before I got on. I weigh now just two small pounds less than I did when Smidge was born. I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking, "... gosh, but I FEEL so... well, less than that..." Zorak pointed out that the way I felt by the end of Smidge's pregnancy was (and I quote) "one of the unfortunate side effects of abject poverty". Ahhh, good point. Also, as I just realized this weekend, this is the first time I've ever been this pregnant in temps under 100'. I'm likin' it!

That's about it. Oh. No, wait, we also stopped by a plumbing supply place in Birmingham today. The folks there were wonderful. We were there for two and a half hours. The boys were wonderful. They had completely wormed their way into the hearts of every guy working there, and most of the industrial reps who came in during our stay. Not only did we walk out of there with a gazillion fittings and manifolds and a few bazillion miles of pipe, but it was at a good price, great customer service, and we are SET for indoor plumbing! Well, for cold water, anyway. We'll hook up the hot water after we have a water heater, and the propane to run it (you know, details, details, sheesh!) But all we'll need at that point is a bazillion miles of red PEX to go with it. WooHoo!

I'm off to tuck my sleeping angels in again and give them some sleeping 'nuggles (not that they notice or remember, but it feels so good, and sometimes mamas do things just because they really enjoy it), and then to rest, for tomorrow's another busy day!

Kiss those babies!

The Remodel, Day 17

Great day, progress-wise!

The bathroom is ready for greenrock. (That's sheetrock w/ mold resistant stuff in it, but ours isn't green, so I don't know why I'm still calling it greenrock. Good thing this isn't an official This Old House remodel blog or we'd be getting letters from angry drywallers.)

The living room is ready for heating.

There's a tent in the kitchen. How cool is that when you're seven and five and two? WAY cool.

We're going to "live" in the first bedroom for a while when we move in. It's backed against the wall w/ the wood stove, so nobody will freeze in the mornings.

The "shop" has been relocated from the living room and deck to the master bedroom and back deck. Hence, the room and safety aspect for the tent in the kitchen.

OH! And have y'all ever seen a Big Lots FURNITURE?!?!? Oh holy bat crap. This place is amazing! It's Big Lots, which we know and love, but it's ALL furniture. And I'm talking WOWSA, this place is nifty, FURNITURE! Anyhow, I've been looking for a futon mattress for several weeks now. We just wanted a thin (read: cheap) all-purpose pad. You know, something to keep the children from slipping between the bars on the futon frame. A place to, in true futon fashion, pass out when we just can't push on any more. Although we salvaged the frame from the curbside, we wanted a new mattress because... well, c'mon, futons aren't for the prudish... SO. Back to the story, futon mattresses are ridiculously overpriced! Did you know that? Ugh. We found one place online that sells them for $139, but when you add the seventy bucks shipping, there's no savings. So we popped in there yesterday. The conversation (may all future purchasing conversations emulate this one) went something like this:

Me: (openly drooling at the displays) Wooooowwww...
BLF Guy: Can I help you, ma'am? Lamps? Couches? A bib?
Me: Yeahhhhh... I need a futron mattress... and one of those barstools... no. No barstools. Just a futon mattress. Do you have those?
BLF Guy: (chuckles quietly) Yeah, what kind would you like?
Me: Cheap.
BLF Guy: The $79 one, then!
Me: Wow, you're good!

And he headed off to retrieve a lovely, cheap futon mattress for me. I followed slowly, wanting desperately to TOUCH THINGS, but knowing I was covered in grease and would leave many easily identifiable finger prints by which to track me down and make me pay for damages. But ohhhhh.....

BLF Guy came back with a HUGE mattress, rang it up, and then (BLESS HIM) carried it to the pickup for me. *happy sigh*

One. More. Change. To the cabinet order.
I'm not even going to venture a guess on the fridge.
The stove-related eye twitch is back.

But those are Zorak's things to handle. I'm good to go, otherwise.

We have a new mascot. He is The Poor Lizard that walked under a piece of paneling on the deck. He didn't make it. He did, however, dry out quite nicely, and James has adopted (?) him. Absconded with him? I don't know what you call it, but it's a boy and his pressed lizard remnants, and they are quite happy. Now if he'd quit leaving the thing standing upright on the banister (the critter is only three inches long, but it's disturbing to walk out there at night and be greeted by it in its three-legged dance of the dead pose!)

John is learning some not-so-fun lessons in personal responsibility. For instance, if you have gloves and you insist on putting them somewhere other than the tool table, you will lose valuable play time until you retrieve them. Your brother will lovingly help you look, but that offer caps out at three occasions per 24 hour period for the same. pair. of. gloves. Your mother stops speaking coherently after the fourth such occurrence, and you'd rather just suffer than ask her to help you look. However, last night as we headed out, he proudly announced that his gloves were on the tool table and aren't we proud! (Yes, sweetie, we are. These lessons are no fun at all, but you're learning them well. Good Job.)

Smidge decided yesterday that he'd really like a nap and since nobody seemed ready to go for a ride in the pickup with him, he just climbed onto the bench seat, folded his arms, and laid his head down. It was precious, but it broke my heart. I want my baby to fall asleep in my arms, not at some hard table. May this phase be over soon so we can get back to our regularly scheduled snuggling.

Midwife's appt today. Better get on the ball!

Kiss those babies!

Sunday, November 13

He grabbed the camera!

Without further ado, here are some shots from the Forever Home!

The fun part of having such a long driveway is that you can ride in the back of the pickup to check the mail!
Ta-Da! Here we are, officially recognized by the US Postal Service! (Great job, guys!) The rocks in the wagon are now decoratively piled around the base of the post.
It took Smidge a bit to catch his breath at the bottom and answer when I asked if that was fun. I caught this shot just as he was breathily saying, "YES!"
This is for Donna. It is what passersby see from the road. With the leaves dropping considerably, you can *almost* see the house (but not quite). All that's really visible is one of the meadows, the barn, and our pickup. I tried to catch the sunlight before it left the treetops, but the boys had my attention up to this point.

And now, I really must get some rest. Thanks for stopping by the Front Porch.

Saturday, November 12

The Remodel, Day 16 Reprise

Zorak and James had a great time working together this morning. Zorak was, I think, a little surprised with the maturity and growth of his eldest spawn. He beamed, glowed, and in general, raved about how helpful and quick James is, how intuitive and on the ball he is, and what an excellent hand he makes. *he he* Ayup, he's growing up, that one. Of course, James also played in the sawdust when his plumbing apprentice work was done. It's important to have balance in one's activities.

John and Smidge had a wonderful morning of sleeping in, dressing slowly - it's imperative to do things slowly when you are two and five - eating eggs and sausage until they both sported some impressive puppy belly, and they were more than ready to head to the House when it was time to go. John picked Smidge's favorite CD (Freddy Fender) for the drive. We sang. We talked. John's a neat kid. He loves to smile, and he gets a lot about the good things in life. Smidge sang and squeaked from the back seat, just happy to have a book and good music.

I'm not entirely clear what we did today. We worked hard, but a lot of it was grunt work (at least on my part, it was). The boys and I did get the mailbox post hole dug and the post set. They put the numbers on the box once it was up, and then enjoyed a celebratory wagon ride down the steep-very-steep drive from the mailbox toward the house. If I can convince Zorak to retrieve the camera from the Suburban, I'll post some pictures.

Cabinet Guy called to check in. Bless him. I was supposed to call him back yesterday after we'd played around with the new fridge and were happy with the final layout, but since it never arrived, I didn't call. He knew the fridge was originally supposed to be delivered Wednesday, so he was a little stunned to hear it still wasn't here today. He listened quietly, then asked if they were going to go get it and bring it to us today. *no* Did they schedule a delivery for Monday? *um, no* What did they do? *they told me to call the warehouse myself on Monday and schedule a delivery* OH NO, says he, that's hogwash! (Says he - I don't use that phrase.) He handled it immediately and scheduled a deliery for us for Monday afternoon. Whew. Maybe, just maybe, we'll have an order in soon!

Oh, I got to fondle my faucets today. Serious perk. Even covered with fingerprints and plumber's putty, they're lovely. *deleriously happy sigh*

Tomorrow is HUGE. It's big. It's scary. It's coming. And it's going to be oh-so-good. I can't wait, and I really truly hope that Day 17 at least remotely resembles the To Do list sitting beside me at the moment. Keep yer fingers crossed!

And as always, kiss those babies!

The Remodel, Day 16

The poor fridge guy got to the house this morning, only to find that the warehouse crew hadn't put ours on the truck.

Of course not.


Oh, but we can call "first thing Monday morning" and talk to them. Yeah, if we didn't have a midwife's appointment in Birmingham, we could do that.


On the upside (there must be an upside to these things or I'll lose my mind!) James and Zorak left the house this morning at seven and had some great one-on-one time, breakfast in a cup, and now they're working on plumbing together. Gotta love that kind of stuff.

I stayed behind with John and Smidge, who desperately needed their rest. They are finishing up breakfast now, and we'll head out as soon as they're done.

Today should be a lovely day.

Kiss those babies!