Sunday, March 30, 2008

let's play a sesame street game:

Three of these things belong together

Three of these things are kind of the same

Can you guess which one of these doesn't belong here?

Now it's time to play our game,

It's time to play our game.

I have been whining about our bathroom for two weeks. We didn't plan to do a major bathroom renovation this month. The problem keeps getting bigger and bigger. We are now repairing a drain lines way UNDER our foundation, thus the enormous mound of dirt in the middle of our bathroom floor. I keep telling Dave if we are going to dig this deep under our house, we might as well keep digging and make ourselves a basement. We could use a den or a playroom or something.
With the walls open, we discovered what 60 year old plumbing looks like. I've got to say . . . . it's not pretty. It's all coming out. Everything is getting replaced.

So as whiny as I have been, I have to remember that we've got "SuperDave" here. (Thank you Shannon. That nick name is perfect and I'm stealing it.)He gutted the entire bathroom, broke through the foundation (with a sledge-hammer and his very strong muscles) dug up the drain lines, and figured out this very complicated problem involving corroded things and rusty pieces, and very old yucky parts.
All in all, this will be expensive, but it will only be a fraction of the cost if we had to hire the work done. Who would you even call to dig a hole under the center of your house?
Anyway, superheroes don't always wear capes and tights. My favorite one wears a tool belt and a welding helmet. Isn't he sexy?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

a relaxing easter

Easter turned out a little nicer than expected. I was a bit stressed Saturday night . It was 11 pm and I still had to:
1. Put away the groceries I had just purchased,
2. Get our video camera back from a friend I had loaned it to,
3. Put together Easter baskets,
4. Practice the piano for our choir's musical number in the morning,
5. Iron a skirt for church,
6. Put clean sheets back on our bed.

BUT, Sunday morning came and here are our successes
1. We got to church on time.
2. The choir performed beautifully.
3. I surveyed the congregation for new easter outfits. (only two families were completely clothed in pastels -- they were in the minority, we were definitely with the majority.)
4. I had no other duties the rest of the two hours, so I could relax and enjoy the lessons.
5. Brady was here when we got home.
6. We all pitched in and made some delicious recipes to go with our ham.
7. Our table was adequate even without the easter lilies.
8. We happened to have 18 eggs in our fridge and we whipped out the food coloring and vinegar and colored some eggs.
9. Dave and I made some ultra complicated scavenger hunt clues for the kids to find their baskets. (by the way, how old are kids before you are no longer obligated to provide a basket of gifts? college graduate? married? this seems to be getting out of hand)
10. We made our kids hunt for eggs in the back yard and they didn't complain (even though 75% of our children are way too old for all of this. They are good sports for Melanie's sake . . . and for the free candy)

We only had one little disaster. Dave and I hid the baskets at 1 am. One was hidden in the oven. Who is going to use the oven between 1 am and 8 am? Nothing to worry about right? As it turns out, Rachel has a different church schedule than we do and Brady was going to be getting here in the middle of the day, so instead of getting their easter baskets when they got up, the girls decided to wait until Rachel and Brady could be here later in the day. You can foresee a problem here, right? Well, we weren't quite in the same focused frame of mind. At 2 pm when I preheated the oven to put in the ham . . . . . well, I can tell you can that we narrowly escaped a kitchen disaster involving fire and melting cellophane, but we did end up with a toasted wicker basket and a stuffed easter bunny with a second degree burns on its bottom end.
All in all, a lovely day. Katie's comment on my last post put it all in perspective. We had no diaper blow-outs, green hands, plastic placemats, or slobber. May we all be granted a perfect holiday NEXT year!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

easter reality check

Every year I dream our Easter holiday will be gorgeous. I always hope the girls will have wonderful new spring dresses. When the girls were younger I always thought I could walk into church with each of my girls wearing a lovely pastel dress handsewn with all the love I have for them (ok, they're a little old for a home-made dress now, but still . . . it's my dream.) My son would be wearing a crisp new shirt with a pastel tie and shoes brightly polished. (He doesn't even live at home this year and I still want to get him something new.)

I always hope to place a delicious, beautifully executed dinner around a spectactular center piece of Easter lilies.

I always hope to plan ahead and get some wheat grass growing in the easter baskets so I won't have to use store-bought filler.

I don't know why I always think I can do this. This year instead of shopping for dresses with my girls, we gutted our bathroom. Instead of preparing our home for a celebration, we are taking moldy sheetrock to the dump. Instead of planning a fantastic Easter dinner, I planned for a mediation meeting over a business dispute. Instead of shopping for a centerpiece, I filed paperwork for leins against some clients who have failed to pay us recently. Instead of artistically arranging the easter baskets, I am hanging on for dear life at the end of my rope. Really, . . . . the end of the rope. And it's unraveling on me.

(next year, everything's going to be PERFECT!!!)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

our 60 year old house is showing its age

Why, oh why does this happen during a busy week???
A suspicious little spot in the hallway here:
Turned into an exploratory surgery of drywall here:

The outcome of this little peek inside the wall was so utterly shocking that we had to make some changes on the other side of the wall. Our bathtub now looks like this:
Apparently, the bathtub and wall had such a water-tight seal that as a leak formed and became worse and worse inside the wall, we didn't know it. Each time the shower ran, a lovely little pond formed under the tub. Really, . . a pond. No, not a puddle -- a POND!! How long had this been happening, you might ask? Who knows. What we do know is that with the walls open, our vocabulary is littered with words like - stink, mold spores, allergy inhaler, disgusting, clorox, exhaust fan, air purifier, home depot, expensive, shower valve, studs, expensive, vent, new cast-iron tub, tile, expensive and "oh my gosh, the damage goes clear into my closet!" and "oh my gosh, how long is this going to take?"
Next time I see a little spot on the wall, I'm going to just look the other way!!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

when telephone poles attack

It's down. It's gone. It has been moved to a safer place. YAY !!! That mean old telephone pole that broke my kids to pieces. Ok, I realize it didn't actually walk out into the road to attack them, but it was standing at attention in a not very safe place. It was 3 " from the edge of the street on a curve. It took a very slight driving distraction, then there was a smooth driveway ramp right next to it so there wasn't even the slightest jolt to the tires bumping the curb before the car slammed into the pole.

It only took 4 1/2 years for it to be moved!

The car looked like this.

And the kids looked like this.
Three kids, one broken femur, one broken thumb, one broken collarbone, a crushed vertebrae, torn intestines, two surgeries, one back brace, $140,000 in medical bills (so thankful for medical insurance), six weeks of lost wages for me, and $14,000 of car replacement costs.

It was a horrible month but then the kids all snapped back to normal quickly and are as healthy and as beautiful as ever.

Rachel didn't have major injuries and was able to leave the hospital that night. The unfortunate part is that her broken collarbone got knocked out of whack during the healing process and although the other kids' injuries were more serious, they had adequate pain meds. She ended up with more uncontrolled and unmedicated pain.

Brady broke the largest bone in his body, his femur, but he had no immediate pain. He was trapped in the car while the emergency workers tended to him. A policeman peeked in the window and saw that it was obviously broken. He said to Brady, "well, looks like you have a fracture there." In the shocked state he was in, he didn't catch the meaning of the word "fracture". He thought to himself, 'whew, at least it's not broken. I've got a football game tomorrow!' He was in surgery three hours later and didn't walk for 4 weeks.

Roxanne and I picked up some furniture the night before and had the seats out of the van. As we were putting the seats back in, Roxanne asked if we could leave the middle seat out for a couple of days so she could have more leg room. What a blessing that was. She was thrown forward from the waist so forcefully, I'm sure she would have been dealing with some head and neck injuries had that seat been there. Two weeks in the hospital was plenty long enough for her.

Anyway, I hope we never have to deal with anything like that again. We are complete believers in insurance. We are avid believers in seat belts. And we are firm believers that bodies are made to heal in remarkable ways.

Friday, March 7, 2008

view from our window

Our yard 6:10 am:
Four trees look like that - about 30 feet up into each tree. Dave has a theory for getting it out of the tops of the trees. Light the bottom of the toilet paper streamer on fire and it will burn itself out to the top. The mailman happened to stop by while Dave was pondering this idea. The mailman now thinks he'll have about three less homes on his delivery route tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

deep thoughts by an inquisitive first grader

There is no doubt this dog is adored. And there is no doubt that Lexi adores the girls.

So far, so good. She's a perfect fit for our family. (Now if only I could teach her to poop outside.)

I had a little neighbor boy (1st grade) visiting us last night. He got so excited to see Lexi and was just adorable playing with her. Then suddenly he asked "Does Kipp like Lexi? Hey, . . . where is Kipp?"
Me: Well, Kipp got very sick and he doesn't live here any more. Here is a toy for you to throw to Lexi.
Little boy: Where does Kipp live now?
Me: Well, Kipp got very sick and he died.
Boy: KIPP DIED????!!!
(great . . . did I mention his parents were not here? I don't know what they have told him about things like this.)
Me: Yes, sometimes animals die, but it's all ok. Now we have Lexi in our family to love.
Boy: How did he die?
Me: He had a disease and he couldn't get better. But it was all ok.
Boy: My neighbor had a dog that got sick and now the dog lives somewhere else.
Boy's big sister: No she didn't. She died, too.
Big sister: Nope, she's dead. Dad just didn't want you to feel bad.
Sister: Yes she did.
(ok, now I'm feeling a bit bad about this conversation.)
Boy: So how did Kipp get sick?
Me: Well, He got a disease in his kidneys and just got sick. Hey look, Lexi wants to play with you again.
Boy: Do people have kidneys? Where are my kidneys?
(oh great)
Then there was a long reassuring conversation about how a 6 year old doesn't need to worry about his kidneys.
Boy: Where did Kipp die? Did he die in this house? How was he laying down when he died? What did he look like when he died? Where is he now? (long reassuring conversation about the peacefulness of death, about Heavenly Father's plan for living and dying, etc etc . . . oh my gosh, what am I doing here????!! Why am I having to explain this?)
Is this poor child going to be having nightmares tonight about dogs going to live "somewhere else"??? Maybe I should be expecting a phone call from a parent today.