Nov 14, 2013

Family Pictures 2013

Family Picture 2013

Family Picture 2013

Family Picture 2013

May 11, 2013

The Diary of an Infertile Woman

This is a somewhat fictional account based on my experiences.  Lots of the details, dates and names have been changed, because I felt like changing them.  

Beware: The contents may not be appropriate for all audiences.  If you don't feel comfortable with the words Sex, Sperm, or Mucus, you may not want to read it aloud to your 6 year old.   Also, it is LONG.  Sorry about that.

January 1:  So this is it.  We have been having unprotected sex for a year today and now we are a officially an infertile couple.  We have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow.   With a specialist.    I don’t want to go.  I don’t want to see some stupid doctor.  I don’t want to deal with this.  I’m nervous.  Can’t I just get pregnant so I don’t have to deal with this?   Ugh.  I hate facing my problems.  But Richard is sick of me moping around and figures we ought to see if something can be done.  Humph.  Darn him and his decisive actions.

January 2: Well, we had the appointment with a fertility specialist. We told a man we don't know all our most intimate secrets: Yes, we have been having unprotected sex for over a year.  Yes, I get my periods regularly. Yes, we are pretty sure we are doing it right. Richard was cracking jokes like he discusses his sperm with strangers every day. The doctor reviewed our test results with us, pointing out the problems and discussing options and treatment in a very soft, pleasant voice, but what he was really saying suddenly hit me all at once.  This isn't a fluke or a quick fix or a simple problem of intimacy.  We can’t get pregnant.  We can't get pregnant.   Not without some really serious intervention and the chances are pretty crappy even then. The air in the room started to feel thick. My ears got heavy and I couldn't swallow. I had to dig my fingernails into my palm to keep myself from falling right through my chair into the hole that opened up in my heart.

How can something be wrong? I’m healthy. I've always been healthy. And I want kids. People get pregnant all the time that don’t want kids.    Shouldn't those who want them get them? All I want to do is be a mother. How can this be happening?? I feel like I have been betrayed by my body. I've had to deal with the pain, inconvenience and anxiety of a period for over ten years and it was all for nothing? I can’t seem to think anymore. My hands are shaking so bad I can barely type. What are we going to do? What am I going to do?

January 10: Cried for the last week straight.  Last night Richard made me dinner, cleaned the house, did all the laundry and bought me flowers. He's so nice, especially since I know this isn't easy for him either. I really should try a little harder, for his sake.  But I don’t know how to deal with this.  Unless crying counts as dealing.  If it does, I'm dealing with it like a pro.  

January 27: Ok.  So we are infertile.  Whatever.  That doesn't mean we're sterile.  Who does that doctor think he is anyway? I went to the library and checked out several hundred books on fertility and read them all. Now I’m not sure if the source of our problem is a vitamin C deficiency, hormones in our chicken, not enough breaths of fresh country air, or my choice in laundry detergent. I guess I'll have to read some more.  Richard tried to convince me that all the girls he knew in high school who spent all their free time reading were not the ones who ended up pregnant.  

February 12:  We started a cleanse that I am really hoping will boost our reproductive systems: Beet Root and Molasses. I, for one, am really excited about this! But I think Richard might want to kill me. It is clearly a testament to how nice he is that he is both eating the beet root and not complaining about it. We have also started a vitamin regimen, and a very strict exercise schedule. We are going to have the most well functioning bodies the world has ever seen! I am not ready to give up yet!

February 28:  Got my period.  I don’t know how long it is supposed to take before my body starts functioning like the perfect machine that it is supposed to be, but I am starting to suspect the cleanse was a dud.  Stupid beet root.  I wonder if Richard would be above going to a witch doctor?

March 3: Am I being greedy? My life is good. We have so much. I love my husband. Shouldn't he be enough for me? Shouldn't our love be so complete and all consuming that I never need anything more? I really, really love him. But it’s like there is this whole separate compartment of my heart set aside for loving a child. Because it is not getting used it is dying from the inside and spreading to the rest of my heart like a disease.  And it seems wrong for me to feel this way.  Which makes me depressed.  I am such a mess.

March 16: I figured since the library and its wisdom failed me as far as fertility cures go, it was time to turn to the wisdom of the internet.  And boy did I find some good advice:
  • Rub the belly of a pregnant woman.  (That seems like a service they should really be charging for.)
  • Drink the same water as someone who is pregnant.  (Tomorrow I will be sneaking into my local Lamaze class and going to town on their water bottles.)
  • Pluck the feathers of a hen during the new moon, and then spread the feathers in a circle.  Have intercourse on the full moon feathers and you will conceive. (Also, you will get feathers up your bum.)
  • Capture a little dirt from where your man of choice man has walked (without his knowledge) and bake it into a cake that you both eat. This will ensure that you carry his child. (And will ensure that you both eat dirt, which adds excitement to an otherwise boring meal.) 
  • Stand in the rain in view of a rainbow for a full 10 minutes. Sleep with the wet clothes under your pillow for two weeks and then wear them again during intercourse. (And what man isn't into moldy, smelly, wrinkly clothes?)
I read these to Richard over dinner and he almost choked in his broccoli he was laughing so hard.  He thanked me for cheering him up and I told him we'd just SEE who was laughing after we tried the rainbow trick.  That one is gold, I know it is.

April 4: I just had another conversation with the old lady next door about our disturbing lack of offspring. She tried to convince me again that children are a joy, worth all the sleepless nights and messes. I wanted to say something obnoxious, but instead I just nodded a lot and told her in solemn tones that she is probably right.  Despite what you think, Nosy-People-of-the-World, I do not have to tell you my business if I don't want to!

April 25:  I cannot seem to make myself schedule another appointment with the fertility specialist. It just seems so bleak. And I cannot continue hoping every month. Every time I get my period I die a little. Every time I hear a baby cry I nearly start lactating.  I’m tired of waiting with no end in sight. Today we started to talk a little about adoption. Just as a possibility. I've been thinking about it for a while but haven’t brought it up because I thought Richard would hate the idea. But he doesn't.  He was even a little enthusiastic about it, much to my surprise.

April 29: My Period is a day late. I am never late! Maybe just considering adoption was all we needed to do!!  

April 30: Got my period. When will I learn to quit hoping?

May 2: I heard a lady say 3 times today that she gets pregnant every time her husband looks at her.  Apparently he is so fertile it is actually coming out of his eyeballs.  Maybe they could channel that fertility like a laser beam into a bottle and sell it on the side of the road.  I'd buy some.

May 4: Called the adoption agency and set an appointment to meet with a case worker. No commitment. Just to see what it is all about.

May 8:  We went in for our meeting at the adoption agency today, and while we were there I felt a peace I haven’t felt in almost a year. By the time we walked out the door we had a packet of paperwork in our hands. I guess we are going to fill it out and see what happens.

May 9:  Started filling out the paperwork.  Holy crap there is a lot of paperwork. I feel like we should have been warned. 

June 23: Have I mentioned that there is a lot of paperwork? Surely this rivals the physical pain of childbirth. They want to know everything: How I feel about myself, how I feel about my husband, how much money we make, how much money we spend, how I feel about how much money we spend; our hopes, our fears, and what wonderful parents we think we will be. We have to get fingerprinted and have background checks and document nearly every moment of our lives. Will it ever end?  

We are supposed to write a letter to our prospective birth parents, including a section all about the wonderful traits of our spouse.  I finished my part of the letter, writing all about Richard in just a couple of days, but I could not get Richard to sit down and do his. So I finally decided to write it for him. If he wasn't going to toot my horn, then what choice did I have but to do it myself?  "Elesa is the most amazing person I have ever met” I wrote,”and without her in my life, I wouldn't have the strength to go on living. She is beautiful, and kind and loving. She is smart and funny and the best dancer ever. Her grace and intelligence daily bring me to tears. She is just so totally awesome!!" I proudly read the letter about myself to Richard. Within an hour he sat down and rewrote it.  Reverse Psycologied!

June 30: We have started telling people that we are planning to adopt. I’m not even sure when we made the decision, but it just all feels right. And everyone has been so nice and supportive. We have gotten a lot of unsolicited advice on how to conceive, as well as awkward questions about our intimacy that Richard find hilarious.  I had a more graphic conversation about “tips and tricks” with my aunt than I ever wanted to have with anyone. I can’t figure out why sex is mostly a taboo subject until you’re trying to get pregnant, and then it's everybody's business. 

July 9: The past few weeks have been crazy busy. We've gone to a bunch more interviews where we've tried our best to seem both charming and responsible. We've put together picture collages of all the educational and fun things we do together. Then they came to our house. They claim they are mostly checking for safety, not cleanliness, but it seems like cleanliness can only help us at this point. We cleaned deeper and more thoroughly than we have ever cleaned anything before. Richard kept telling me that our case worker wouldn't get down on all fours and check behind the toilet, but what if he did?  So we just kept cleaning and I guess it paid off because our case worker was satisfied.   I was hugely relieved. And exhausted. And then Richard made me cookies and we turned off our brains and watched TV the rest of the night.  

July 27: We just got The Letter! We are approved for adoption!!! The last three months have been exhausting but it is over.  They have given us their stamp of approval and all we have to do now is wait for someone to choose us as the future parents of their unborn child. What could be easier?

August 28: I have never known impatience before now. Has it only been one month? 

August 29:  Our case worker has told us that we shouldn't just wait to be chosen by a birth mom, we should actively try to find one of our own.  It's a good idea, but we're not really sure how to do that apart from approaching pregnant women on the street.  And I don't think they would appreciate that much.  Richard suggested going to a local bar and buying drinks for young girls, but I told him that wasn't even slightly funny and smacked him on the arm.

August 30: Saw not one but TWO teenage girls buying pregnancy tests at the store today.  I spent several minutes nonchalantly following them around trying to figure out how to tell them that I wanted it if they didn't.

September 26: Still waiting. Our case worker likes to remind us that this can sometimes take up to 3 years, so I am trying to be patient. And I am failing fantastically. In my head I know that we have not been in the adoption pool long, and that waiting is part of the package, and that it won’t be forever. My heart, on the other hand, thinks that it already has been forever. And it is not interested in listening to reason.

October 18: Went out to dinner with my college roommates  Every month I listen to them talk about being pregnant and giving birth. Which is fine.  Just because I have a problem shouldn't mean they have to watch everything they say.  Tonight, however, someone said, “There is nothing worse than being pregnant.”  I wanted to punch her in the face.  I still want to punch her in the face, but I really try not to do that to my friends anymore.

October 31: This afternoon we had a routine visit with our case worker. We made small talk for a bit. Then he smiled and handed us an envelope. Inside was a card. A birth announcement with a sweet, handwritten note inside: “My name is Amy and I have chosen you to be the adoptive parents for my baby. He is due December 10th.”  

I bawled.  Richard and I hugged each other and cried and I thought I might not ever be able to stop.  I can't believe this is really happening!  Oh, great.  Now I am crying again.

November 5: Pregnant ladies claim they have the corner on brain-deadedness, but I believe that it has more to do with expecting a child than it does with actually being pregnant. Ever since we read the card from Amy my mind has shut down.  I can’t complete a sentence, I've burned several dinners, and started running over people with my shopping cart. There is always just this other thing to think about that is so much better than anything else that is going on.

November 6: Tomorrow we are going to meet Amy. How do we prepared ourselves for something like this? How do we dress for something like this?  What kind of clothes say “Fun, happy, successful couple who will be loving parents, competent teachers and perfect examples”?  I think I am expecting too much from my wardrobe. What if she changes her mind??

November 7: Today we met Amy.  And I don’t think either of us have ever been that nervous before.  About 5 minutes into the meeting, though, the nerves were gone. Amy said she knows we are the right couple, and she is sure this is what she wants to do. She is nothing that we expected and everything we need. There is a tangible bond between her and us. It still doesn't feel real to me. She is due in a month.  My brain doesn't know how to process this.

November 17: Richard and I wandered happily around Babies-R-Us for a good 2 hours today. Then we went to the mall and I tried on some maternity clothes, just for kicks. Tomorrow I am going to try nesting for a while.   

November 26: This is my last childless Thanksgiving. I don’t think I will miss it at all. But I am glad for all the time alone with Richard. And it is so fun to watch him get excited for this. He has built a tiny little work bench in the nursery, because it is never too early to learn to use power tools!

December 17:  Yes. It is the 17th. Amy was due on the 10th. No baby yet. But she emails every day to keep us posted. The doctor says he doesn't think it will be before the 22nd, so we might as well keep busy till then.  Thank goodness for Christmas to keep us occupied.  Well, mostly occupied.  Sort of.  Sometimes.  I cannot wrap my head around the idea that next week there will be a baby in our house.  That we will be parents.  And the suspense is killing me!

December 21: He's here!  He's here!  Harrison was born this morning at 4:00 am.  He weighs 7 lbs, 11 oz, is 19" long and healthy as can be.  We're on our way to meet him right now.  We're going to meet our baby!

December 21:  We just got home from the hospital.  Amy seemed so excited for me to hold the baby. Our baby. Our Harrison.  We all exclaimed and cooed over Harrison's every wrinkle. Seeing that tiny baby in Richard's big arms was almost more than my swollen heart could bear and I nearly broke down again.  We never wanted to set him down.  But after a couple of hours we kissed him and her and said our goodbyes so that Amy could have as much time as possible with him without us in the way.  

December 23: Placement.  It was over so much quicker than I expected it to be. We exchanged gifts and then Amy held Harrison one last time.  She told him she loved him and then started sobbing.  Part of me wanted to yell at her just to keep him, that we couldn't put her through this. Then she braced herself,  looked at me, and said through her tears, "Here you go, Mom", and placed him in my arms.   Then she hugged me hard, told Richard and I she loved us while we both cried and said we loved her too, and then she was gone and we were left alone. With Harrison. I still can’t believe it. My joy is overwhelming, but my heart breaks for Amy.  I hate that my happiness came at the cost of so much pain for her.  I know we didn't do this to her, and I know if it weren't for us she would have just picked someone else.  But I feel like we took her baby away and it is killing me.  How can I be so sad and so happy at the same time?

December 25: We are parents.  I am a mother. The waiting is over and the real adventure is ahead of us. We waited so long, and hurt so much and suddenly he is here and our lives are different in every way. That hole in my heart is gone. The hole in our lives is gone, filled in an instant by a baby because of a girl with the guts to give him to more.  

I feel like I've been holding my breath.  Watching everyone around us breathe and wonder why that basic bodily function was denied me.  I wanted air so desperately that every inch of my body was screaming for it and I couldn't understand why I didn't just pass out. 

And now, suddenly, we’re parents.  We brought him home and put him to bed and while I fed him in the middle of the night it hit me that it is my turn.  That this is real.  I took a deep breath and oxygen seeped into every inch of me and I finally know what peace feels like.  And I know what joy looks like because I am holding it in my arms and staring into its sweet face.  

And this is only the beginning.

Apr 28, 2013

The Boy Who Pooped: Tales from the Depth of the Latrine

I really like my title for this post.  The rest of the post is going to seem like a disappointment after a title like that. So don't get your hopes up.  I'm not really going to tell you loads of potty training war stories.  Because no one really wants to read about cleaning poop off of things.  Do you know how hard it is to clean poop off of walls?  I do.  I wish I didn't, but I do.

I started potty training Colin this month  He is almost 3. After I potty trained Harrison I learned that having a Just-Potty-Trained kid is SO MUCH WORSE than changing diapers, so I've really been in no hurry. But I want him to go to preschool in the fall and I've started to feel like the time is right so on April 2nd I just up and Started Potty Training. We've had a naked little bum running around the house for the a while and he figured some things out really quick.  He would dribble into the potty almost every time I asked him to. When we went camping his daddy taught him how to pee standing up and he came and told me "Me pee on a rock!  Wub it!" And then he figured out how to hold it and now he can keep his underwear dry for several hours at a time.  He still won't tell me when he has to go, but if I send him to the bathroom every couple of hours he can stay dry all day.  Except today when he went through 7 pair of underwear.

Potty Training in my experience is like one step forward, one step back, over and over and over again for the first few days or weeks or months.  You just think you are making progress, and then they come and tell you gleefully that they peed in the kitchen.

I think what makes potty training so hard is that you have to rely almost solely on your own smarts.  Actually, that is what makes everything about parenting hard.  You can read all these books, and get all this advice from your mom and your neighbor and your Aunt Beebop, but then you actually try all this stuff out and it doesn't work.  All of these clever parenting tricks don't seem to work on your Borg baby.  Even when you do find something that actually works to calm him down and get to him sleep, he adapts to it, so it won't work a second time.

In a world where anything you want to learn is available instantly, somehow, as a parent, you are still basically left to your own devices.  You know how you want your kids to turn out, but how to get there from here is a complete mystery.  It is like trying to make a cake without a recipe, after watching a couple of cooking shows.  "Well, I remember them putting in some flour, and I know I want it sweet, so let's throw in a few spoonfuls of sugar.  Hmm, what else?  Maybe milk? Oh, I know!  Eggs!  All the best cooks use eggs!"  And then you still feel like something is missing so you go online and look up advice on cake baking and you see someone has written a book about how important it is to bake the cake for the right amount of time and you read several blogs on the different techniques to test doneness.

Very interesting reading, no doubt, but ultimately useless cuz you don't know what you are doing! Actually, the whole cake analogy totally doesn't work, because all you really need to bake a cake is the recipe, and THERE IS NO RECIPE FOR PARENTHOOD!

Sorry.  I didn't mean to yell.  I got mad because my analogy is lame.

Every single step of parenting is a mystery, and even on your second kid none of the same stuff works so you are still just as clueless.   A cat will just fall alseep anywhere, but a baby will scream and scream and scream despite your rocking and your bouncing and your singing and your sanity rather than fall asleep.  What is that about?

And THEN you have to teach your kids to use the toilet.  Sometimes I can't believe we are really expected to do that.  It really is madness.

Everyone always says that girls are easier to teach to use the toilet than boys.  I always thought that was because girls are smarter or less stubborn or something.  BUT NO.  It is because when a girl sits on the toilet to pee, the pee goes in the toilet.  When a boy sits on the toilet to pee, the pee can really end up anywhere.  ANYWHERE.  And you can try having him stand up, but that can be just as much of a crap shoot - literally - and you just simply have no control over events! AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

Again.  Sorry.  I lost my temper.  I shouldn't yell at you like that.

But I've also learned that if I don't give up and just keep sticking them on the toilet they WILL make progress.   That is the miracle of life.  No matter how hard things are, if we keep plodding along the best we can and sitting on the toilet from time to time, things do work out.  And sure, just when everything starts to look up, you find a tiny pair of superman underwear full of poop hiding in the corner of the bathroom.  But you count your lucky stars that you found them in the bathroom, and not hidden behind the couch like last month.  And maybe next month you won't find any poopy underwear at all.  See, there is always hope for the future.

Now if I can just survive the next few months of bodily waste and washing underwear everything will be swell!

Apr 4, 2013

April 4th

Today, while playing a little Pre-Bedtime Hide-and-Seek, it was Colin and my turn to count and Colin counted to 7, by himself.  I was like "What? Colin! You're Counting!" (I'm so eloquent sometimes).  But here was the beautiful part.  Colin's "F" sounds like "ps" for some reason (Superman psies, he wears shoes on his pseet, he eats with a psork, etc.) so his counting was like this: "One, Two, Bee, Psore, Psibe, Psis, Pseben  (cuz one he started making the "ps" sound, why stop?)."

Such a cute little smarty.

Also, I started potty training him this week.  He peed in his potty about 20 times today.  Just a tiny little dribble everytime.  I feel like I spent my whole day in the bathroom.  Which, as you know, is my favorite place to be.

Colin - May 2013

Mar 24, 2013

Potty Talk

Richard got better and look what happened?

I probably shouldn't tell you this, but that stencil I used was actually the 3rd one I tried.  I'd love to say that after painting a small sample section of this one on the wall I just knew it was the one, but I didn't.  I COULD NOT decide.  They all seemed equally good.  So in the end I picked this one in this color combination because it meant I didn't have to repaint the sample I had just done.  It was the easiest.   I think sometimes choosing your spouse works the same way.

If you're thinking you recognize that vanity, you are right.  It is Ikea's Hemnes dresser.  Will it be sturdy enough to stand up to all the abuse it will no doubt get at our hands?  I don't know.  Will we regret using it?  Quite possibly.  Is it too late to be doubting our choices now?  YES.

At this point, my heart and soul really feel like we are done in here, but my brain keeps screaming at them that we are not.  Nobody ever listens to my brain though.  It rants and rants all the time and my face just sits there with a blank expression plastered onto it like usual.  Here are the things my brain insists we still have left to do:


 We've got to put a sink in there. That means cutting the drawers and all the rest so that it will fit and the drain will fit and the drawer fronts will still fit in and junk like that.


We've also got to put the counter top on.  Those things don't install themselves ya know.  It won't come in for another week or more though, so I guess we won't be washing our hands anytime soon.


We've got to hang the mirror, hook up the outlets, and hang the rest of the pendant lights.  I like how you can't even see the pendant light in that picture.  All it is is a glowing blob hanging from the ceiling.


I've got to paint the door.  And we've got to install the "doorknob", or whatever you would call it on a pocket door.  After I closed the door to take a picture of it, I almost couldn't get it opened again.  Good thing there is a toilet in there now, or I might have panicked.


We've got to attach this cabinet to the wall, and put on its doors and what not.  This would be easier if my tiling job had been more level.  But it is really too late to be criticizing my work now.


We've got to put up the wainscoting in that little corner up there.  It would probably be smart to do that before we attach the cabinet to the wall.


We've got to put up drywall and wainscot over here. I bet you thought we just forgot that spot.  But we can't do anything with it until we install some shower knobs on the other side or something.


We've got to put the bathtub in, right there. The bathroom is so big and spacious right now.  I hope the bathtub doesn't crowd the heck out of it.  Before we can put the bathtub in though, we've got to get it refinished.  We were going to try to do it ourselves, but we are just too tired.  Luckily we found a guy who says he will refinish it at half his normal cost because his business is so slow right now.  Hooray for the economy.


Last of all we have the shower, which is a whole nuther bag of cats.  It sort of makes me want to cry just thinking about it.  And then I remember that everything I stress and worry about really doesn't matter and that I am shallow and ungrateful.

So that is where we are right now.  Yesterday was Saturday and I had big plans for all that we were going to finish but then it snowed and for some reason we didn't finish anything.  I don't know why A led to B, but I know that it did.  Snow has repercussions we sometimes to don't expect.

And That's All Folks!

Mar 6, 2013


Hello my friends.  No doubt you are all extremely curious about the state of my bathroom.  Or else you forgot all about it.    I did seriously considering lighting the room on fire, but then I would have to keep going all the way downstairs to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.  And arson is wrong.  So they say.

Words are hard.  Less Talky, More Picture.  Here we do:


We finished this at about 11:00 pm  on a Tuesday.  Which almost killed my husband.  The next day he was so sick he couldn't get out of bed.  Strep throat, the doctor said.  I didn't know that remodeling can give you Strep, but it turns out that it can, so beware.

With Richard sick in bed that left me to do all the mudding, texturing and painting by myself.  I started to wonder if maybe he got sick on purpose.  It was all just a little too convenient.

I wanted to be happy after I finally got to paint.  That is my favorite part.  I should have been thrilled.  But all I could think about was how much work there was left.

For example, Tiling:

When we decided to do the Herringbone pattern DIAGONALLY I said to Richard "Will we regret this?"  And he brushed it off saying "What haven't we regretted about this project so far?"  I laughed.  Ha ha!  Good Point!

BUT I did regret it.  A lot.

I thought big tiles would go in faster.  But they don't.  They are big and hard to manage and heavy and immature and unwieldy!  And that Herringbone pattern was tricky.  And doing it on the diagonal was insane.  I wanted to come up with tips and tricks to make tiling easier for any of you who feel inspired to follow my example, but the only advice I have is DON'T.  Just don't tile at all if you can help it.  It was hard.  And it took FOREVER.

I really am happy with how it turned out but it was about 24 hours of tiling labor altogether.  24 hours.  I worked 12 straight hours one day, stopping at about midnight because I ran out of tile.  I ordered another box and when that came in I went at it again and finally finished about 1:30 am.    And it certainly isn't perfect, but considering how much trouble it was giving me, I'm really pleased it came out as well as it did.   I am so glad the tiling is done but can we put the toilet in yet? NO.  There is still more to do.  It is official.  Bathrooms are the worst.

I decided, back when I still had energy, that I wanted to stencil the walls.

Here is how the bathroom looks today:

Well, no.  Technically, THIS is how the bathroom looks today.

But don't ask me about the books.  I don't want to talk about it.

And I'm stuck.  My favorite bathrooms all have patterned walls.  We picked the colors and I painted the base coat and then put one piece of stencil up and Richard said "No.  Strike that.  Reverse it."  I had to agree with him, so I bought more paint and repainted all the gray walls a lighter gray, with a plan to put the darker gray on top.  But I started thinking the dark gray would be too dark and I didn't want the color contrast in the design to be too severe, so I lightened up the gray and that is how it turned out.

I DO like it.  And if it was easy I'd be like "Boo Yah!" (which I can totally pull off) but I'm not completely in love with it.  And for how time consuming it is, and for how crazy impossible it is to get into the corners, I'd really like to love it.

So that is where we are now.  I really don't know what to do.  What is it I don't love?  Richard thinks the pattern is too busy, and he thinks a darker gray WOULD look better.  Maybe he is right?  I don't know.  We looked at wallpaper, but didn't find anything, and looked at some more stencils online and found some we liked, but will we like it when it is done?  I don't know!  It actually looks quite nice in the picture.  Maybe I am stressing myself out for nothing?

So what do you think?  Should I keep going with this stencil?  Should I repaint and start over?  Should I give up?  Should I light the house on fire like I want to?  What would you do?   I should point out, after you give me your heartfelt opinion and advice, that I probably won't listen to it.  Please give it to me, just don't be hurt when I completely ignore it, which I will.

Ah bathroom, my old foe, will we ever be friends?

Feb 19, 2013

The Death of a Spider

Any of you who "Would Not Hurt A Fly" should probably just turn around and leave right now.  The contents of this post are extremely violent and may offend those of a gentle nature.  Because I had to turn the water back off which meant climbing back down into the hole under the house with the spiders and this time I was armed.  This time I brought a Blow Torch.

This is what I looked like:

They call me The Spider Slayer.  Qait would draw it better.

Daddy Long Legs are naturally camouflaged to blend in with their webby surroundings which makes it impossible to distinguish spider from web.  So I burnt it all with extreme prejudice.  I could tell when I got a spider though.  Did you know that spiders spark when you light them on fire? It is kind of awesome.  And then I found some big spiders.  A bunch of them, over in the corner.  And they didn't just spark when I hit them, they made an audible popping sound.  Which was satisfying in a kind of evil way.  And scary way.  The noisier my massacre got, the more scared I was of retribution.  I kept imagining Shelob  climbing out from under the house to get me.  Maybe it was guilt.  All I know is the more I killed the more anxious I was to run away.  So I did.  I had barely begun my Arachnid Armageddon, but I felt the wrath of the Spider Lords building against me and I climbed back out of that hole as fast as I could.  I still sort of expect them to come for me in the night to get their revenge.  I mostly deserve it, don't I?

Anyhoo, here is how my bathroom looks now:

Instead of patching the plaster which takes forever and is not fun, we knocked all the plaster off the wall so that we can put up drywall.  Richard says first we need to put up furring strips.  I'm guessing he just made that word up.  But we've got to put up something so that the drywall will have something even and level to screw into which the bricks are not.

So how long has it been since our inspection?  3 weeks?  And I thought the room would be done by now.  Heck, I thought the room would be done 5 years ago.  Why is it the last few weeks are the hardest?

Oh, wait, I know why it is the hardest.  Because there is a TOILET IN MY BEDROOM. You think my room was bad before, you should see it now.  It is stuffed with power tools and huge tracks of insulation.  I have got to get this bathroom done or I might have to set all my stuff on fire!

I actually might do that anyway.

February 2013

Colin just brought me the tablet he had been playing on and said "This makes me crazy."

I'm gonna have to watch myself with this one.  He's going to be one of those that will repeat everything that I say whether I want him to or not.

He has started saying " ___________Saves the Day!" (insert Super Hero of your choice). His favorites are SoupMan (Superman) Batpan (Batman) or Webs (Spiderman).  He is nuts about superheroes and loves to watch the old Batman movie from the 60's, the original Superman cartoon from the 40's and Spiderman and his Amazing Friends from the 80's.  And he is always quick to tell me that Superman flies, but Batman and Spiderman swing on a rope.  It is important to know the difference.

The first thing Colin said when he woke up from his nap today was "Me have Superman elbows."  I said ok and he said "Me have Superman nap."

Harrison loves to count.  He can count to 100 and loves to do it and once he starts don't expect him to stop until he gets to 100, cuz he won't.  Even if you really, really want him to.

Feb 13, 2013


Stupid Responsibilities.  Stupid Valentine's day.  I just want to get that silly room drywalled, but Richard needs to put in the faucet stuff for the bathtub and a 2nd sink first.  And there is just no time.  If I don't do something, we won't even be able to paint on Saturday.

I really try not to fret about stuff, but this kind of stresses me out.  Every minute I feel like I should be doing something else.  Like right now for instance.  Now that we are so close to being done with the bathroom it feels farther away than ever and if we don't hurry and finish it it is going to set back the rest of our plans for the entire year!!! And Ruin The Rest Of Our Lives!!!!!

But I've got valentines to put together, and dinner to make and a treasure hunt to come up with, because it wouldn't be valentine's day without it.

Still, there is good news.  We turned the water back on upstairs which means I can use the washing machine again.  Hooray.  Laundry.  Now I get to spend a few hours folding clothes tonight.  Colin is happy though, cuz his Superman shirt is clean.  And I guess it is nice to have clean underwear again. We sort of put off turning the water back on, because it means one of us (me, because I am trying to be nice for once) has to crawl through a small hole down under the house, into a den of daddy long legs to do it.  I've never really been very afraid of spiders, especially not daddy long legs, but it turns out if there are enough of them they can be scary after all.

But I'm glad I have a house to crawl under.  I'm glad I have running water to turn on and off whenever I can work up the nerve.   I'm glad I have clothes to wash and an indoor electrical washing machine to wash them in.

And on that note, I will go make dinner.  Because while I might be able to eat cookies for every single meal, my kids need protein and nutrients and what not.  Soilent Green it is! Bye.

Feb 12, 2013

An Exciting Look at Today

Here is what is going on with me right now:

1. Today, now that I've curled it, my hair looks like Steven Tyler's.  The question is, is that a good thing or is it a GREAT thing??

2. Colin has just started saying his name: "Nawin".  And he started saying Harrison's name which sounds almost perfect.  He called him "House" for a little while, and before that just called him "Him".  It is so fun to hear his tiny voice say Harrison.   And, while he used to say "Maman" to refer to the Dark Knight, now he calls him "Batpan" which makes me laugh every single time he says it.  He is in the other room right now, singing the Batman song,   "Na na na na na na Batpan!  Na na na na na na Batpan!"

Oh my gosh, it is hilarious.

3. I made a huge batch of Sugar Cookies today to give away for Valentine's Day, based on the recipe that is supposed to be just like Paradise Bakery's Sugar Cookies, and they turn out really not great.  Harrison spit his into the garbage and asked why I made the cookies taste so gross.

4. And my bathroom looks like this:

I really kind of wanted the drywall to be DONE last Saturday.  And when we didn't finish on Saturday I thought for SURE I could finish yesterday.  And I didn't.   I am now convinced that we can finish today. It's 8:30 pm, so we still got time, right?

Shepherd's says that our Tile will be in on Thursday, so I was kind of hoping to start installing it this coming Saturday.  But we've got to paint  first and before that we have to mud the walls and before that finish drywalling and we also need to plaster all over the plaster walls to make them smooth and even with the drywall.

So maybe I'm a dreamer.  Whatever.  I get my hopes up and have them crushed on a weekly basis.  All part of the remodeling process.

I know that right now what I should do, to make my dreams a reality, is get up there and cut some more drywall!  But what I think I'm gonna do instead is go veg on the couch for a while, and watch some "How I Met Your Mother".  I hope Future Elesa forgives me.

Feb 7, 2013

The Silver Lining

See what I spent the day doing?

Well, not all day on that one piece.  That would be sad.    I just wanted to show you that silvery insulation in the first picture.  It comes in big sheets 1.5" thick.  I have to cut it into strips to fit between the ceiling joists.  The spacers I talked about making last time are to keep the insulation from being pushed all the way back between the joists.  But instead of making spacers I just cut the insulation so that it fit tightly in the space and sat flush with the joists.  I still feel like that doesn't make any sense, but it really doesn't matter, so lets move on.

To Tile.

Much to my surprise, Richard said he is fine with all the design things I want to do in the bathroom.  I'm sure it is not the manly toilet retreat he was hoping for, but he's letting me have my way anyway.  All he wants is to have a say on what the tile is like.  I graciously accepted his terms.

So here are some of the tiles we are considering

We got these tile samples from Shepherd's Carpet in Spanish Fork.  This is the 3rd time I have brought home tile samples and they still don't even act like I am annoying.

We were thinking light colored tile for the bathroom floor, and dark tile for the shower.  Our very favorite is this limestone,

but at $10.99 a square foot, it is just more than we want to pay.  We like the look of natural stone, but not the cost.  And we like the cost of porcelain and ceramic but Richard really doesn't like porcelain or ceramic that is supposed to look like natural stone.  I thought some of those other tiles might look real enough that he would be ok with them, but nope.

So in the end, what did we pick?  I don't know yet.  Stay Tuned.

But I do know that going to the tile store with Superman and Santa was both eventful and educational.

No, not fireman Santa.  Just Santa.  You have to work with what you've got.

Jan 30, 2013

Inspection: CHECK!

Well.  It happened.  The inspector came and did his inspecting and not only did we PASS, we passed with Flying Colors!  Color were literally flying right out of my face so hard it was awesome.

And what that means, boys and girls, is that we can now put up insulation Anywhere We Want.

Before we can put up insulation though, we need some spacers.  I don't know why.  Air flow or some other fancy thing.   This is really no big deal, we just have to cut some wood into 3/4" x 2 & 1/2" pieces.

I have many flaws, but the one that gets me into the most trouble is that I am impatient.  I don't want peanut butter M&M's tomorrow, I want them right this seconds.  I don't want to wait for Richard to come home and cut the wood for me, I just want to figure out how to do it myself.  Richard says first I need to rip down some of our 2x4s to be 3/4" wide.  Ok.  I can do that.

Today's nemesis, the table saw.

Yes, you do recognize that linoleum.  I'm cutting wood right in the middle of my dining room, just like the pros do.

First I needed to figure out which side I should I sit on while cutting.  Does it even matter?  Then it occurred to me to sit on the side opposite from where the saw dust comes flying out.  Thank you for that, brain!

Now I've got to move the guide so that space between it and the blade is 3/4 of an inch.

This table saw comes with a handy ruler, but what the heck good does it do to have 0 be way over there on the left?  Wouldn't it be better if zero was at the blade?  I do not understand.   The only way I can see to know how much space I have is to go like this:

and then all the blood rushes to my head while I turn upside down to read it.

HOWEVER, while I was standing on my head I suddenly had a moment of clarity.  I am probably going to cut my fngers off.  How about I just DON'T use spacers at all?  So that is what I'm gonna do!  The End.

I know this has been a very useful post for all of you.  But this has been my day so far, and it only seemed fair to share it with you.  Meaningless dilemmas like this are how I like to spend my time.

I should get to work though.  I am very excited. Still, I seem to be having a really hard time getting started.  All I can do is sit here rubbing my hands excitedly together, and that never built nothin.

Check back in tomorrow.  Maybe I'll make more sense then.

Jan 26, 2013

Saturday Evening's Post

I know.  You're tired of my posts already.  Sorry 'bout that.  It was bound to happen.  I'm a little hard to take in large doses.  Just ask my kids.  But how can you walk down this remodeling road with me if you don't get to experience my Saturday?

As I type, Richard is upstairs, right above me, pounding on something.  It is really distracting.  I've tried telling him over and over that I am trying to BLOG, and could he please just hold it down?  Rude.

Actually, I feel really guilty, sitting here typing while he is upstairs working and answering Harrison's millions of question, which never stop.  I keep asking if I can help but all he said he needed was for me to put on my yoga pants and walk around for him.

Probably shouldn't have told you that.

Let's go see what he is doing, shall we?

Oh.  Boring.  Not much to see.  He is putting in the air return upstairs.  We'll have to check back when he is doner.

I guess I'll just have to sit here watching videos of fat cats stuffed into small boxes until he has something interesting to show me.  It is hard work being the idle documentor.

OR I guess I could go clean the bathroom out.  It is not as noble, but just as necessary.  It needs doing and I might be just the girl to do.  TO THE BATHROOM!


I'm back.  Cleaned the whole bathroom out.  There was a lot of crap in there.  Not literal crap.  I guess crap is the wrong word to use if I'm talking about a bathroom.  Let's just say there were a lot of "various items of questionable usefulness" in there.  Especially all of this stuff.

But its all clean now.

and where do you think I put all that stuff?  You guessed it!  In my bedroom!!

Living in this house has been a study in moving things around.  We are constantly moving things from room to room when we need to work on something and our stuff is in the way again.  Seriously.  There are boxes we have moved 20 times or more.  I think that is why I love throwing things away so much.

Anyway, Richard finished the air return.  Tada!

And then he secured some wiring that was insecure.

Now it has a lot of self confidence and I feel good about that.

Then we put in one more box for a light fixture

and we are done!   Do you hear me?  DONE!!!!  Bring it on Inspector!  We are ready for you!

So now if we get some supplies: insulation, expanding foam, drywall, cement board, tile, and stuff to make a shower pan. then we can get started as soon as the inspector leaves.

I don't know how to express my happiness.  Imagine something like this:

Can you feel it?  Even my hair is excited!

Better News

Richard called and talked to the permit people.  When he told the lady his situation, she laughed.  She said that she too thought it was a ridiculous fee, but because we hadn't included a valuation of what the project was going to cost us, they had to figure the fee based on the most expensive bathroom remodel they've approved, which I'm guessing was Liberace's.

So we gave them our valuation and the gave us our new fee: $151.06.  Phew.  That is more like it.  That is what I had been expecting. So I paid the fee through their spiffy new online service and requested an inspection and now we have to wait until Monday to see when they can come and inspect.  Will it be next week?  Will it be next month?  Oh, the suspense is killing me!  I may just have to go and pick out some tile to distract me.

I'd sort of like to show you some inspiring bathrooms at this point, but I am hesitant for two reasons

1. I'm afraid to show you my inspiration bathrooms because our bathroom won't look as good and then you'll have something to compare it to and say "Well, they tried."
2. I don't actually get to decide what the bathroom looks like.  It usually feels like women who are remodeling their homes and blogging about it can do whatever they want and their husband neither gets a say or even has any idea that the remodeling is happening.  That is not the case with me.  My husband cares.  He has his own opinions.  And I can fall in love with pictures of bathrooms until the cows come home, but in the end we have to pick stuff we agree on which TAKES FOREVER.
3. I talk too much.  Irrelevant, but somebody had to say it.

But who cares!  I'll show you some pictures anyway!  Beautiful bathrooms for your Saturday!  I saved these pictures before I ever signed up for pinterest, so I don't know where they came from.   I am very sorry.

I'd always thought that I preferred a modern decor style, but after looking at thousands of pictures, I realized I was wrong.  I prefer something more traditional, a little contemporary, and a little bit glam.

See?  Gorgeous.  I LOVE that bathroom.  But it would be pretty impractical with two little kids who excel at destroying things.

What I really want is something like this:

Ah.  So pretty.  So functional.  So bathroom-like.  However, what I want only counts for 50% of it.  What does my husband want? What does my husband like? And will we ever be able to agree on anything?


Jan 25, 2013

Good News and Bad News!

We got an email from the City and our permit has been approved!  Hooray!  
Now we just just have to make a small one time payment of $1191.88.

WHAT.  That fee is rediculous.  Something nefarious is happening at the city offices!

Jan 15, 2013

Master Messroom

I called the city offices and they told me to allow at least 2 weeks for the permit to be made up.  I'm trying not to be hugely annoyed, but it is cold in my house.  I would really like to get some insulation in.  Course we HAD a permit at one time, but I guess it was taking too long to make any progress, so they lost it or threw it away or something.  Again trying not to be too annoyed.  It might not make any difference for how long it would take now anyway.  In the past our city inspectors have always been very easy to work with, so I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt.  In that I doubt they are doing it just to be mean.  So let's talk about something else.

Today I've been looking through several blogs about organization.  Lots of good ideas, and pretty pretty pictures of neatly organized, clutter-free rooms.   They are nice.  And in comparison to some of my rooms, hilarious.  Let's take my bedroom, for example.  I'm going to take a picture now, because Richard just cleaned his side of the room and it may not look this clean again for another couple of years.

Well, nothing too shocking there.  Except the Lego Star Wars Walker back there on Richard's bedside table.

He's so cute.  And someday, if Richard cleans off his bookshelf, he can be proudly displayed there with other nerdy paraphernalia, but right now the top of this bookshelf looks like this.

I learned a long time ago that my husband doesn't like it if I clean up his stuff.  He doesn't trust me not to throw important things away (with good reason.  My definition of important and his are very different.) and he gets mad when he can't find things.  So I just leave his messes alone. He still can't find things, but now at least it is not my fault.  Our marriage is better if I just let his mess be his own.  It is not like I am a neat freak myself.  As you'll see soon enough.

So now, lets turn around and look at the other side of the bedroom:


Oh,  It doesn't look that bad in the picture.  But still!  What IS all that?

Well, I'll tell you Bob.  Almost exactly a year ago we started buying all the stuff we would need for the bathroom when we finished it - vanity, sinks, faucets, lights.  Problem is, we weren't as close to needing it as we thought, so we had to just stack it all up in our bedroom.  Then we threw some tools on top, and then some lampshades, and pillows, some pioneer clothes I don't wear anymore and shoes that have lost their mates.  There are probably Christmas presents that I forgot about buried under there somewhere.  I think my wedding dress is even in that pile.  I really don't know what to DO with that thing.

Against the other wall we've got more boxes with some shelves that are going to go in the bathroom, and a crib that I just don't know if I am going to need again or not.  And I have no idea where to put it in the mean time.

The pictures don't come close to giving you a sense for how much crap it feels like.  It is really overwhelming in the room.  Like the clutter is rising up in a wave to crash over us in our sleep.

So, yes, sometimes I laugh when I read people's blogs.  So I take a break from the internet and read a book for a while.  I like to keep a few handy by my bed.

Yeah, my husband is not the only one who has a hard time keeping his side of the room tidy. So this is what I come home to at the end of the day.

Could be worse though.  It could be this:

That was 2004.  Either my camera was filled with dust or it was so cold it was SNOWING in there.  I guess I really shouldn't complain.