Saturday, February 27, 2010

Babysitting has got to be good practice for something

Usually I'm not very timely with my posts but just in case you had your hand on the trigger waiting to call DCF, babysitting was rather successful in that it was totally uneventful. Kim's baby is perhaps the most laid back a child can be without the aid of say, anesthesia. He let everyone hold him and didn't seem in the slightest bit concerned that we were all strangers that smelled different than his momma and made weird faces that him and repeatedly tried to eat his tiny feet.

Kim finally saw the house, and if she were slightly closer and didn't have, oh ya know, a small infant to take care of I imagine she'd love helping out painting, decorating and generally taking advantage of my shiny new appliances. Obviously I'd love help. I can't do all this myself, after all, but she's got different priorities than the rest of us do because of the baby and I'm totally understanding that he's the number one on her list. In fact, if he wasn't her number one priority I'd be a little worried. But she's taken to motherhood like a fish to water, which she admits is even a surprise to her.

Number one on my list is a varying thing, but right now it tends to be associated with the house. Curtains. Cabinetry for the kitchen. Bathrooms that look like proper bathrooms with actual tiled floors. Painting a TON of stuff. Guest room furniture and bedding. The list just keeps on expanding each day.

Naturally the next thing anyone asks about is baby. I know. Everyone sees us in this big giant house and then wonders when we'll fill it with the pitter patter of tiny feet. Well, maybe sooner rather than later but not in the way you'd first anticipate.

We're in the market for a puppy.

And my friend Stephanie bellows "nooooooooo don't do it!" from where ever she is right now, but I think it'd be nice to have a pet. I've never really had a proper pet and having a puppy kind of forces you to get your rear outside. And I know short walks don't seem like a lot but they are when you're a sedentary soul like myself. It'll be good to be forced to get OUT.

Now the problem of course is that we don't entirely agree on puppy breed. Like it could POSSIBLY be that easy. Trevor wants a Labrador Retriever only. His list of approved dogs is pretty short. Just the one because he loved his previous pet a great deal and wants another. But I'm more open to the idea of a medium to small dog of mysterious mutt-like breed because while I love love loved Trevor's old dog it was a rather big task to transport a full sized lab around with us in our tiny little cars. And bigger dogs, although very very sweet natured, tend to create bigger bills because they need bigger everything. Bigger crate, more food, large vet bills...you name it. And that's a big responsibility. We have enough bills as it stands without adding in a whole other (albeit fuzzier) mouth to feed. Trevor was mightily tempted to buy a puppy a few weeks ago when we were eying them in Manchester. I was pretty fond of the little red dachshund she puppy and Trevor was in love with the little red boy lab puppy.

You're probably wondering why we don't start smaller, but we actually do have a pet. We have a fish. A stray fish nonetheless. And YES you can have a stray fish. You can have one when the previous tenants in the unit you were living in left their fish behind in a fruit bowl and clearly had no intention whatsoever of coming back from him. It's not like he was old, or had serious medical issues, or was a huge burden to have around. He's a fish. You don't even have to take him on walks or pet him or really do anything.

And yes he's still alive. And he's rather funny. I think he's so old he doesn't have a ton of vigor still left in him so he just floats around a lot and makes Trevor think he's dead but then magically reanimates. And attacks your finger. It's like his version of playing catch. Clearly this is fantastic practice for a puppy right?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Save the children

So complaining about my life and my house not-withstanding, how are things?

I'm endeavoring on babysitting my friend Kim's kid tomorrow. Wish me luck. I hope not to inadvertently scar him for life. But since he's only like 4 months old he won't remember any of it (thankfully). I joke that I hope baby doesn't hate me, but in all seriously I hope he doesn't because I'll feel like a world class failure at life and that I will never be cut out to produce offspring and my poor husband will have to deal with me whining about how my sub-par mothering will result in crazed emotionally unstable children with bad hygiene.

Joking aside (and yes that was my version of joking) I'm sure it'll be fine. It's not like I'm babysitting for like 12 hours. I'm more or less holding her kid for like 2 hours and then she'll be back from her long awaited pampering since I chipped in for a massage for her in like October and I gave her a salon giftcard for a haircut shortly after bebe TyTy's arrival into the world. Because buying a gift for the baby was way too obvious I thought it was much better to gift something to his mama. If I can't survive a few hours, even if the kid is wailing at me the entire time, that's pretty pathetic.

Speaking of babies, Susan's is getting closer to being cooked. Her baby shower is scheduled for like a month or two from now. I'm not sure what to do about that one but I have plenty of time to acquire a sufficient gift. I've been a little lazy with gifting because the house is eating all of my money away, and because I have no time or energy to wander about and look for thoughtful and endearing gifts. Not like it takes a lot to incite some ooohs and ahhhs at a baby shower. Pick something very very very tiny and someone's going to think it's cute. Tiny socks. Tiny hats. Itty bitty hair clips. It's all good.

Right now my biggest project is curtains. Lots and lots of curtains. It's really no joking matter. I have 11 windows just in the great room alone. And I'm a fan of patterned curtains over sheer panels. So of course it's rather an interesting endeavor trying to find some we mutually agree not to hate, and then hoping the store has enough of them available so our room doesn't look like a hodge podge of found items. And that's just ONE room. I have a whole house riddled with windows to slowly bankrupt me.

My hope is by summertime that it'll look a lot less disconnected. At this rate we're not likely to have anything ready for Easter, but it'd be nice to throw a BBQ when things warm up. I really do want to entertain and do something.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Roughing It

Updates? I have a fridge. No ranges because they didn't fit into the 60" spot they're meant to be in and Trevor had to unfortunately refuse delivery. The description listed one size and when the came? Surprise, too big. I had my heart set on finally being able to cook something. We ordered replacements from the store's direct competitor...ya know, because that's the right thing to do to really stick it to (insert air quote gesture here) The Man.

I have a new kitchen sink faucet because the last one was broken and although it would dispense water would do so only at one super fast velocity and it would splash everywhere all over the entire counter and you. I'm happy I no longer leave the sink soaked from head to toe.

We have a number of rugs now after much argument with Trevor about how I think it's pointless to have beautiful wood floors if you insist on covering every single last square inch with rugs. He's of the mind that we need them to protect that floor from heavy foot traffic and keep our feet warm. I'm of the mind there's nothing worth protecting if no one ever sees it and if you're cold you need to seriously consider more layers of socks and slippers because no rug is going to keep your tootsies warm for more than a second.

Thankfully we have a microwave combo thing that Aunt Deborah got us as a bridal shower gift so we're not entirely sitting around cooking beans in a can over a flame from a burning trash barrel, but it's kind of sad seeing this glorious stainless steel french door refrigerator and then vast emptiness all around it. Also? I think our neighbors must think we're super eccentric. We have some seriously random furniture, window coverings and appliances right now. I will admit that Trevor is using a garbage liner in one spot because he got so desperate to have the light not blind him mid-day.

It's funny that we even have stainless appliances because I think they're terribly overrated. Like, it's nice from a distance but if you actually cook in your kitchen you'll notice fingerprints all over the place within about 2 seconds. And if you wipe them the wrong way you scratch the surface thus ruining that glossy sheen. And as the kitchen person I'm inevitably going to be the one wiping all these surfaces.

I love my husband and I don't intend to make it sound like he doesn't clean. He does a LOT of manual labor for the houses but when it comes to cleaning he gives me this look and says "oh we should clean that" and what that honestly translates into is "oh you should clean that because I'm going to lift heavy stuff and you don't want to do that do you?" And the honest response is no. I don't want to lift a heavy thing from the basement to the 3rd floor but despite my not doing the equivalent in physical labor, I'm still doing work and I do not appreciate your tone because you're making me feel like your maid instead of your wife. And thus goes the ongoing battle between men and women because I'm never going to be as strong as you are. I'm just not; I'm not built that way BUT I still want to be considered your equal.

I make it sound horrible but it's not. I'm just making an example of it because projects like this house will be the death of your relationship if you let them because you're so physically spent and inevitably you're growing more and more financially spent as you continue spending money on your big grand project. And equality is such a big thing for us in many of the other aspects of our lives that the obvious physical discrepancy suddenly pushes itself to the surface. I guess I'll add that to the THINGS I DIDN'T KNOW BEFORE I GOT MARRIED list. Home Improvement may be dangerous to your relationship.

So, while I am not starving to death (at least not yet) I think I have to admit that living without a range or oven is seriously putting a cramp in my style. So I borrowed a hot plate from my parents because my mom has a ton of random appliances. In case you live under a rock, a hot plate is a portable cooking device; mine looks just like the spiral heating element from an electric range but it's singular. The downside of a hot plate is that if you are a vigorous chef you'll find the entire thing will move. So instead of just moving your frying pan you'll find you've moved the entire frying pan and also the hot, dangerous heating element below it. Now I understand why they ban these things in college dorms.

It's been a lifesaver even though I secretly hate it. This might be the very antithesis of the Viking range of my dreams. A single electric burner that takes like 20 minutes to heat up. I guess it's only slightly better than living off of microwave pizzas and tv dinners. I always kind of run past that freezer area full of Lean Cuisines in the grocery store. The pictures are deceptive and the food inside is never ever as pretty.

Living in this house right now is kind of like glamorous camping. Especially the part where I don't know where half my belongings are hidden. I only just found a box with most of my socks a few days ago. Before then I was totally stealing them from Trevor.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A House is not a Home without You

We got the house. Finally.

The problem with that is that I've been so busy packing, cleaning, painting, unpacking, reorganizing and buying stuff that I've become terribly unsociable and grumpy and tired and generally unlikeable.

But after working 8 hour+ days at work, running to our multi, changing, throwing together some boxes, running them all down 3 floors, packing up my car, driving to the new house, unloading those boxes from my car and then painting, cleaning and generally tiring myself out until about 10pm when we go back to the multi, shower, sleep on an air mattress because all of our other furniture is at the new house and repeat. I know, I know, I signed myself up to this. But it's really exhausting and to describe it would be pointless because it's just a haze.

My mom's been worried about my constant g0, go, go and thinks I'm making myself sick. She doesn't even know I've been skipping lunch, consuming nothing but coffee all day long and then gobbling down sandwiches or whatever other garbage for dinner so I don't pass out from lack of nutrients. I didn't even TELL her and she apparently knows. It must be some kind of mom intuition. She can read me like a book. On the bright side? Maybe one day I'll wiggle into those size zero jeans before I keel over and die.

But we accomplished a lot. The floors on the first floor were sanded and poly-ed (by professionals). Plumbers came in and moved the shower on the first floor to the second floor. The jacuzzi on the second floor to the third floor. And they hooked up the gas line in preparation for my new gas ranges. (Which have not been delivered yet due to some snow related delays.) Trevor, my dad and Devin worked off and on, on the floor in the side-apartment of the new house. Carpet folks came in and redid the upstairs of the side-apartment. Kelly scrubbed a lot of shower stalls from a green moldly color back to their original white and swept and mopped a lot of dust bunny ridden floor. Many trips were made to Home Depot. And we covered the hideous pepto pink in The Great Room with a slightly less hideous yellow that I thought would be more gold but surprised me by being rather vividly yellow. It makes the room look sunny so I can't complain too much.

The house? Well, I have a hard time describing it without sounding like a pompous weirdo. In fact, when my husband describes it I almost want to flinch in embarrassment because it's really not that special and it's not that extraordinary. It's just really, really big and it's previous owners were apparently related to Liberace because they had a serious hard-on for chandeliers. I've possibly never seen more chandeliers in one place than I have in my own home. It's a little strange to think I'm that person because we just happened to fall into this house at a good time. It's not like we desperately needed another home under our belt.

And in a way I'm a little ashamed that we've done all this because I'm sure it must incite a flicker of jealousy. I don't think anyone should be jealous of us because we're breaking our backs working on this place and we'll probably be sacrificing every weekend for the next few years renovating, cleaning, moving furniture around...etc. Obviously we've already started playing musical bathrooms moving around tubs and shower stalls. It's a heck of a lot of physical labor. We're not rich enough to just hire contractors to do it all for us either. This is very much a labor of love. We didn't even have money for real movers like Trevor originally promised because the actual house and all the things we needed to purchase ate up the moving funds. The Boston contingent of our family came and helped move big furniture Trevor thankfully did not expect me to help him move. My mom and dad and bonus mom came to paint. Most of the time it's just me and Trevor but I'm rather happy to see the outpouring of familial support. It makes me feel like this is a family's home. It's not just a box that we happen to reside in, it's a place people actually want to come together.