Friday, September 3, 2010


In the interest of brevity (don't laugh, you don't believe I can be brief? You're probably right.), I'm going to tell you about August, but not necessarily in order.

The Guest Room

So, you remember I got my permit, right? Yes. Well, after a couple of weeks of wondering how to get started, I finally tried to rally my troops. There was the neighbor across the street who still owed me a few work hours and luckily, he has experience with building and wiring and whatnot. And then there was my friend A's husband (whose daughter calls him Bad Porcupine because of how his buzz cut tickles her cheeks when he hugs her, but instead of calling him BP for obvious reasons, I'm gonna call him Porky... that's funnier anyway), Porky. The former had the know-how and the latter had both know-how and equipment (you need a special nail gun to drive nails into concrete).

Problem is, neither one of them were available. Kinda. There's more to it than that, but that's all I'm gonna say since it's water under the bridge. What it means is that Sam and I were gonna hafta do it ourselves. I went online and researched. I bought a Black and Decker on home wiring. We made a plan and still... did... nothing. My Sam, while he's a whiz at designing complex nuclear stuff, could NOT scrape up enough spine to finally drive a nail. We STARTED our research/planning at 7am and didn't start driving nails until well past 4pm. And even then, it was after I had threatened that I was going to go down there and do it myself. That almost always works. The one pro-active thing he did do was run to Home Depot and spend the $80 we needed to spend to get the powder actuated nail gun. I figure it was a good investment since we're probably going to be the ones finishing the whole basement ourselves anyway. Once he got the first couple of pressure treated sole plates nailed in, the top plates and vertical studs followed pretty easily. And now, it's starting to looked framed. He has almost all of the central wall (the one dividing the space between guest room and root cellar) done and only has yet to do the closet framing. Hopefully, all the studs will be up and the roughed-in wiring done by the end of this three day weekend so we can call in an inspection this week. Then, we'll work on the sheetrock... that's the hard part because it's heavy and bulky and needs to be taped and mudded, etc. etc. I'll keep you posted.

The Shipment

The whole basement project was made more urgent by the looming delivery. We WANTED to have the room at least FRAMED before the truck carrying our stuff over from France got here, but alas, that did NOT happen. The GOOD thing was that most of our stuff was here without damage--there's some drama over our mattress having some water damage, but we submitted it to the insurance and got paid for it. The BAD things were 1) the dudes delivering backed the truck into our garage and tore a little hole in our siding (but we'll get insurance $$ for that, too) and 2) our house was suddenly FULL of boxes. Would I be able to get enough unpacked so that we would have at least SOME amount of organization before the kids were to start school? Would I be burdened down with all of the unpacking and putting away to the point I would slack off on the PTA stuff I was supposed to be doing while refereeing my screaming children? *shrug* Sam got enough boxes of toys unpacked to set up a makeshift play area down in the basement, so at least I could spend my days unpacking with relative calm. It's funny how many boxes there were and how it made it look like we have tons of stuff; but because they wrap EVERYTHING in so much goshdarn paper, many of the boxes were easily unpacked and put away. In all of my sorting, however, I have also sent two Jeep-loads of stuff to Goodwill and have almost another whole load ready to go. There's still a pile of stuff in our bedroom and all of the guest room stuff piled in a very disorganized way next to the play area downstairs just waiting for the guest room to be finished. So, once we get that little square done down there, we can set up the guest bed and my office down there. I had forgotten how many little storage cabinets we had bought and taken with us to France. I thought we were going to have to build shelves in our root cellar/pantry to store our food and preserving paraphernalia, but since we have all those cabinets we may be able to put off buying/building storage shelves for a little while.

The happy thing is that the kids have their rooms. We set Ryan up in his own little room off of the living room. And we gave Ryan's old room to the girls. Both of their beds and desks fit in there and because they are almost the same size they actually share (for the most part) one common closet of clothes. Including underwear now that Lolo has potty trained (!!!!!!! She did it in a span of like two weeks!!!! She even has dry nights! I just can't believe how much easier it was with her than the other two!).

The Kids

It has been interesting watching the play dynamic develop between the kids. I thought for sure that once Lily and Ryan rediscovered each other that Lolo would be, once again, left out in the dark to fend for herself (play alone). But I think that Ryan having the house to himself, a room to himself and toys that were actually ONLY his for so many months, he's become a little territorial. So, while he plays with Lily quite a bit downstairs, he makes the girls ask to enter his room and can often be found hiding in there by himself, playing with cars, looking at books or drawing.

The other thing that suprised me is how much Lily and Lolo still play together even though Ryan is around. In fact, sometimes, Lily will rope Lolo into playing Fairy Princesses or Dora and Boots for HOURS without even a squeak from Ryan. I guess the two of them learned how to play together out of necessity while Ryan wasn't around.

Now, of course, if you throw in another child or a handful of other children, this dynamic is blown to smithereens (like, for instance, we have begun watching/taking to school the young boy of one of our neighbors... So, in the mornings, Ryan is a BOY... a FIRST GRADER... who does NOT play with baby stuff OR girls... but he does this to accomodate the other boy who insists on these rules).

Ryan is REALLY eating up having his father around. Sam is, by nature, much more patient than I am when he tries, so Ryan takes advantage of this mild-manneredness to con all kinds of games out of Papa--Battleship, Chutes and Ladders, soccer, etc. And Ryan sneaks off to help Sam water the garden in the morning and harvesting the vegges. I still get to take Ryan to the movies by myself because that's my sort of thing. And I'm the one who takes him to get his hair cut because Sam knows I'll probably bitch about whatever cut he gets if Sam takes him. But other than that, Ryan really is Papa's boy. I think really loves that it's Sam who drops them off in the mornings.

Lily is excited to be here on the one hand but also seems somehow disappointed that the inside of our house is not more like a fairy tale castle. She talks constantly about how, in her Pink House, she has this or that and she is allowed to do this or that. As far as we can tell, her Pink House is an imaginary place she has constructed in order to fulfill all the dreamlike stuff she can't have in real life. Hey, I say, whatever keeps her from whining, right?

Lolo kicks ass. She is easy going, loves to just hang out and actually ASKS to take a nap. And like I said, because she has sort of potty trained HERSELF, she is also super portable, so when I get started back to the Y next week, I'm looking forward to only having her with me to check in.

Ryan is doing really well in first grade. I met with his teacher on Registration day and she said she would continue doing what his K teacher did last year with the stickers and whatnot. It's funny but I think Ryan actually really puts STOCK in the sticker thing this year. He talks about it every morning and how hard he's going to try and work to get his sticker and then in the afternoon when I pick him up he is excited to tell me how his day went. I'm SO excited about this. AND the teacher sent home a list of words Ryan needed to know in order to particpate in a certain activity and the only one he didn't already know like a pro was "white" and that's because of the whole WH thing, *shrug* I warned her that he can be sort of dislexic when it comes to his numbers and sure as shit, he came home yesterday with a sheet asking him to practice writing his numbers. Listen, if this is the only thing he has a problem with this year, I'll be happy!

Lily was SO proud last night when we went to her open house. And she threw a screaming fit not to leave last night. I can tell she really is absorbing what she's hearing. Yesterday, she told me that "it's summer right now" and that pretty soon, "the leaves are going to come off and it's going to get windy and that's 'fall' "... And when she gets home from school, she loves to play "school" and pretend like she's her teacher. It's adorable.

I'm hoping to sign them up for swimming lessons this month. Ryan and Lolo will love it. I'm not sure about Lily. She likes the IDEA of being in the water, but the reality turns her into a clinging, wailing baby. We'll see.

All three of them say they wanna take dance classes. Might be too expensive, but I'm looking into it.

I'd like for the two older ones to maybe start karate.

Working Out

So, I was doing really well there when I got back from France. Working hard to get back into my Eat Clean thing and take off the 10 pounds I put on while in France. I started getting up and running during the week with my friend Al (chick) as we were training to do a full marathon in December. We were doing really well and we even did our first 5k of the season together.

I'm used to it. I've done this before. Find someone who is a running/racing virgin and take them over their first finish line. Sure, they bitch at me through the entire race, but I yell encouraging things at them until we cross the line together. And usually, the cheer of the crowd and the euphoria that goes along with the post-race chemicals pulsing through their veins cuases them to become just as addicted to racing as I am. However, that's not what happened to Al.

She called me dirty names all during the race but she picked up and sprinted in across the finish line. I was sure she'd wanna stick around and bask in the post-race hubbub, but she didn't. As soon as we were done, she was like, "Okie dokie. That's done. Let's go." That made me sad. Sad for her, of course, because it's so much freakin' FUN to be addicted to this kind of thing. But sad for ME, too, because as much as motivating other people is good for THEM, it's also super solidifying for ME. And now that Al has had it confirmed by her doc that she can't run, I'm back to training alone. Don't get me wrong, I still wanna do it. I'm just bummed a little to be getting up before dawn all by my lonesome.

So, this little thing and that little speedbump has kept me from really recommitting to working out. And then... Something moved around in my gut.

No, I'm not pregnant. I think I may have some kind of hernia. I'm not sure and I'm sorta tired of running around to try to find out. I have signed up to do a 10-miler in a few weeks. And I think I'll be okay enough to start back at the Y at least to do low-impact kinds of stuff. All I know is that I am SICK AND FRICKIN' TARD of health crap.

We wanna have another baby. But I want to be down to 150 before we do. That's 50 pounds, yo. I want to lose that before we get pregnant and I'm giving myself until May (when I hope to run the NYC half marathon with my Thither) to do it. After that half, Sam and I are gonna, ahem, plant a seed.

I have NOT been back to Zumba at the Y. I went once and there was a new person teaching it. For one, she goes too fast. For another, she is super repetitive on her movements and I wasn't feeling like I was getting enough of a workout for the strain she was asking me to put on my knees and ankles so I walked out the second time (hey, at least I TRIED to give her a chance). So, I figure I'll go to the Y for my other stuff and just do my Zumba at home.

Speaking of Zumba, A (Z's mom) told me a friend of hers who runs the local karate studio had lost their Zumba instructor. I got my hopes all up and was ready to do it but when I called that afternoon, they had already found someone and hired her. Blah. Oh well.


That leads me to a couple of funny stories. The first one is that Sam found me a job. I don't know if he just like sits at work and periodically searches for library jobs just in case, because he thinks I am too expensive and need to get a job to pay my way or what, but he calls me and tells me that the local public library is hiring for a full time position for which I am overqualified. He tells me that it'd be worth it, though, as a foot in the door. I cave and apply. I didn't hear anything back, so I assumed someone else had gotten it. But then, I got an email yesterday saying that I was in a group who were moving on to the next step in the process and would I be willing to take the job even if they couldn't pay me what I had asked for, salary wise. I sighed and rolled my eyes, but Sam's voice in my head told me to write 'em back anyway.

Listen, I DO want to be a Librarian. I do. And this position would probably really kick ass because I'd be working in Youth Services. And FOR SURE, it would be a great opportunity as a foot in the door. But I LOVE spending my days with Lolo. And what about all of my fitness stuff I wanna do? And what about the PTA? And what about getting back to writing. What about the garden/farm? BUT, I've done MY part. I've filled out the app, I'll wait for the call for an interview (to which I WILL go). I'll interview to the best of my ability and let the Universe decide where things go.

The SECOND story is that Sam and I (and all three cranky/crazy kids) were down at the community market Saturday and Sam started talking to a lady in line at the French bakery there. Turns out she's a French teacher at the local high school. Her husband works at Areva. She says this area can't HIRE enough French teachers. *mouth drops open* Say what? She then tells me that she knows of a teacher at another school who is possibly about to resign and that I should email her and she'll email me back if something opens up.


So, I did. She hasn't written back yet, and I don't know how I feel about being a French teacher again, but at least it satisfies Sam's insistence that I need to grow up and "concentrate on a career." Now he's REALLY starting to sound fatherly, huh? I agree, however, that a little more money would help further our homesteadial (I made that word up. Like it?) projects, eventually.

We'll see what happens. I'm sure Lolo would benefit from some Montessori school time, but dude... am I ready?


Speaking of homesteadial affairs, we have veggies. Well, HAD. Through the month of August, we practically SWAM in squash and basil. I made a good 20 loaves of zucchini bread and put 'em in the freezer for later. I have made loads of pesto from our basil. I have made several DELICIOUS pasta (and regular) salads from our tomatoes and cucumbers. I have a crisper full of cornichons just waiting to be put into pickling brine. I have taters waiting to be dug up. I have bell peppers, banana peppers AND habaneros, all patiently standing out there waiting to be harvested and turned into a savory, spicy chili. This week, we at the one little bag of frozen peas we harvested in the spring. I can tell you, the fifteen extra boxes I'm planning on putting in the current garden are going to be overflowing with peas and green beans EARLY next year. And we'll start earlier. We have a baby watermelon growing and we have some winter squash and pumpkins thriving... we'll see where all of that goes.

So, George came out to work on the deck and when he did, he told me that he was looking to sell the EXACT tractor we need for the PERFECT price. Can you believe that? I'm excited about a tractor!!! If our insurance will just pay us back for the stent removal (go read the other blog if that reference has you scratching your head), we'll put it together with the sum that remains in our French bank account and we'll buy us a TRACTOR!!!


I donated my ponytail again. I have super super short hair. A page boy haircut. I love it. That's all I have to say about that.


Okay, so I'm a sucker. I went back to the church. And it was actually NICE. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's because it's just down the road and I see a lot of these people in school and around town. Maybe it's just that I like arguing with the people in the sunday school class. I don't know why, but I'm not going to question it very hard. I like the church. I'll keep going as long as I'm getting something out of it (and yes, I realize that "getting something" is seldom dependent on the actual church people but upon whatever I expect to get OUT of it and how much of my own energy and effort I put in to getting something out of it). That's enough about that.


They're back. Day before yesterday, I killed one. Yesterday, I killed fifteen. Today, they are all over the deck, clinging to the siding and wandering around the windows. As we speak, there's one walking across my ceiling, taunting me. I don't want to go through what I did last year. So, I called the bug guy. I hate to do it because I don't want to blast a bunch of chemicals in to my house, but Ryan's already waking up in the middle of the night with stinkbug nightmares. We're gonna hafta do something about them because while Ryan may recover, I KNOW Lily won't be able to handle them.


I don't. I want to. And I think I might soon. But, I don't. You see for yourselves. I barely blog. I think I'm going to sign up for a writer's conference or two and see if I can get remotivated. REinspired.


I have a lot to say about the PTA. Some of it happy and exciting. Some of it just drama and frustration. But, since I'm working in an official capacity, i don't think I'll go into detail. Let me just say that it's a LOT more work than I had anticipated. A lot of the work is administrative. But I'm still excited about what we might be able to do this year for the school.


So, Sam comes in the other day and asks me if I'd like to move to Niger. Say what? Yeah, I said Niger. Where you're not allowed to walk around without a body guard. Where Americans live on a COMPOUND. The short and definitive answer is HELL NO. As long as we have children who live with us, I will not live anywhere where we run the risk of being burned alive by natives or torn apart by fanged, plains animals, thank you very much. I told him to ask me again in twenty years.

Well, I think that probably concludes this little episode. As usual, I could talk about a lot of things cuz that's how I roll. But I have to get some stuff done before I go get more stuff done. *grin* I'll leave you with a few images...




Banana/Bell Peppers...

Garden creatures...
What's eatin' the maters...

Friendly yellow and black spider who loves when we feed her squash bugs...


Can you see the deer?

Skivvies in the garden...

Little Buzzer...

Garden basket...


Squash basket...

Maters and basil...

Home improvement:
Basement before...

The Handyman...


Lily's first day of school:

All ready to go...

The Back-to-school pose...

Will it ever start?


Here come the teachers!!! Almost time!

Without even a look back... she's GONE!



In the classroom...


Ryan's first day of school:

The arrival (notice Lolo had to wear a backpack, too)...



Tea party at Z's house...

Ryan substitute at Open House...

Lolo and "Ryan"...

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