Friday, June 25, 2010


I got this message in my email from a total stranger today:

You cannot be the person you were meant to be in this world as long as you are operating at a deficit by expending so much of your energy on a destructive person.

The idea of risking my own potential for some else is scary. I've never thought of it like that before.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Trip Home

So this past weekend we spent in Northern New York for my dad’s retirement bash.  We decided to go up Wednesday night instead of Thursday night, since it is a long drive (550 miles to be exact) to only go for one day.  I picked Michael up at Quantico and we got as far as Winchester before deciding to stop so that Leah could get the screeches out.  We stopped in at SuperWalmart and had dinner at the McDonald’s in there, and picked up a few things we needed for the trip before getting back on the road.  It turned out to be a wise decision since by the time we got back in the car, got gas, and hit I81, it was 7pm, which is Leah’s bed time. She was soon snoring softly in the back seat and we had a pretty good drive.

A voice in my head kept on telling me that I would be able to drive all the way home but I really didn’t want to entirely.  Around midnight, we were in Cortland NY and I was feeling tired, so we decided to stop at a Day’s Inn.  I went in and agreed to pay the rate (despite the fact they tacked on a $5 surcharge for a handicapped accessible room, which is ILLEGAL as hell).  I gathered up my little family and we went into the hotel.  Red flags immediately went up.  There were a bunch of half-naked people loitering in the hallways and the smell of pot was hanging heavy around us.  I tried the swipe card and nothing.  I tried the other swipe card, and we still couldn’t get in.  Leah was soaked and groggy, I was tired and pissed off, and Mike had to pee.  (haha!)  So I went back to the desk and asked to please have the keys reprogrammed.  Went back to the room, and we still couldn’t get in. 

I am ordinarily a calm person, but at 12:30, I was kinda not in the mood, you know?  The potheads were milling about, the TV’s were blaring, the people in the room next door to us had posted a sign on their door that said, “This is not the hang out room tonight” which appeared to have had exactly zero effect on anyone, so I grabbed Mike, we went out to the desk, I put the keys down and said, “There is no way we are staying here.”  The clerk look stunned.  She asked what was wrong and I said between the noise and the drugs, we were not subjecting our infant to that nonsense.  Two of the homies came ambling through at that point and she called out to them, “Hey, are you guys smoking weed in the hallway?”  They replied, “Not in the hallway” and started laughing like Beavis and Butthead. 

The clerk says she doesn’t know how to process our refund, so we need to call the manager in the morning (I’ve called the hotel several times now, no one seems to know anything about it, but Days Inn Corporate is about to get an earful, I can promise you).  We get in the car, I clean up Leah and her seat, and we get driving again.  I said to Mike that we were only about 30 miles from Syracuse, so it was no big deal to get up there and then we could try finding somewhere else to stay over.  By now it was nearly 1AM.  So we drive to Syracuse, and I was thinking about the money we had already paid to the hotel we didn’t stay in and the room we didn’t even get to see and I said to Mike, “Well, it’s only 2 hours home.”  He starts telling me I’m crazy, but I really couldn’t see stopping at that point.  It was all landmarks I knew, which was going to make the trip a lot quicker.  So we just drove home.  We roared in at 3AM, and I had a moment of panic in that I wasn’t sure if my dad would have left the house open or not, but lady luck smiled on me and I was able to get in.  I put Leah on the guest bed for about 30 seconds while I set up her portable crib and the minute she was in that, she was stretched out and snoring.  Mike and I crawled into the big guest bed and passed out.  I don’t think we even said goodnight to each other.  It was 3:30AM.

What seemed like seconds after I fell asleep, all hell broke loose with banging and clanging and crashing coming from the front of the house.  I sit bolt upright in bed.  Michael and Leah slept on undisturbed.  It was 6:30AM.  I knew it was my dad, who is not known for being gentle.  I use the bathroom and then I decide to open the hallway door.  As I do, I hear his chair fly back as he leaps to his feet and I peek around the corner to find him standing behind the dining room table, his fist locked and loaded, ready to lay me flat.  It took him a second to realize who it was and then he just couldn’t believe it.  It was kind of hilarious.

We had some bagels and talked for a while, then Leah got up and then Michael got up.  We were all up by about 8:30.  My dad still wanted to go out to Watertown to do some shopping, but I didn’t feel like getting back in the car, so we let him go.  The three of us spent the morning puttering around the house, napping, and then we drove up around the lake to see what was new in town.  I’m glad I do this every time I go home, since you never know what is going to change.  Right now the hospital is under construction and the way it is now is not the way it looked for all the years I knew it.

We had lunch at the Hillside Diner, where Leah held court and I felt depressed that I didn’t know anyone in town any more, and then we went home and waited for my dad’s call to meet him up in Natural Bridge for ice cream. 

We had a pretty low key day after that—Dad made us his famous meatloaf and mac n cheese for dinner and then he and Michael watched the Mets and the Celtics games while I took a spin through Oswegatchie and went to bed early.  Friday we hung out outside most of the day.  The weather up there was beautiful and I told Dad I was moving up there for a month next summer.  It was so freeing to be outdoors and relaxed.  We had leftovers for lunch out on the back porch and then I got some chicken marinating since I offered to make dinner (grilled chicken). 

After dinner, Judy and her family showed up.  I don’t recall a whole lot else of what happened other than Leah and Dottie got each other wound up and then Leah proceeded to sleep like a champ.  In fact, she has slept through the night since we were up there.  She’s doing an amazing job at sleeping all of a sudden!

Saturday, I was still trying to catch up on sleep.  My dad’s friend Fred came over, but I missed him while I was napping.  Then his friend Bob came to the door and yelled, “Where the hell is George?!”  Dad and I both flew from our respective rooms like we’d been shot.  (No one is too concerned about sleeping babies!)  Dad grilled up some burgers and dogs for lunch and then we enjoyed our afternoon together before Dad headed to mass while we all got ready for the party.

The party itself was a lot of fun.  There were a ton of my old teachers there, some of whom I hadn't seen in years.  Dad gave a nice speech and a few people got up and said some really nice words about him and Bob, who is also retiring.  My dear friend Amy showed up, and I hadn’t seen her in 2 years, so it was cool to catch up.  My godfather, who I don’t recall seeing since I was in high school, was there.  Mrs. Collins, the school librarian, who greatly influenced my love of reading and libraries was there.  It was the greatest feeling.

All of a sudden, the heavens opened.  We got a massive thunderstorm.  There are no thunderstorms like thunderstorms in the Adirondacks.  The volume and fury, just amazing.  I loved it.  Fortunately it also cooled it off since it was a little bit humid up there.  Afterwards, Bob and his family and Amy came by the house for nachos and more celebrating.  I finally went to bed at 10:30ish.

Leah started making noises around 4:30, almost as if she knew we were leaving.  She really started squealing at 5:00, so we decided to get up and pack.  My dad heard us and got up and by 6:05, we were back on the road, heading south.  We were much earlier than planned, we didn’t plan to leave until around 7AM, but we were ready, so we pulled out.  I got kinda misty-eyed leaving, but I found a few treasures to bring back with me, including a book of nursery rhymes that my favorite uncle gave me on my first Christmas.  It is now safely tucked in Leah’s upper book shelves so I may share it with her, which thrills me to no end.

We decided to stop at the Wegman’s in Wilkes-Barre for lunch.  We got there at 10:30.  They were not serving lunch until 11:00, but Leah was a little car weary, so we decided to wait it out.  We got pizza right when it came out of the oven and the girl working the pizza counter could not have been more friendly.  She carried our food to the tables, got us a high chair, and even offered to get our drinks.  So on the way out, we left a comment at the management desk about her superior service.  I hope she gets a nice bonus or something for it.  She was amazing.

We got back in the car around 11:30, got gas and Leah did just great until we hit I66 in Virginia.  Then she started freaking.  I pulled over on the side of the road and fixed her a bottle, but that didn’t work.  She was just over it.  I kept promising her we were almost home and giving her a running count of the miles.  She settled down after we broke into silly songs and making faces at her.  She only freaked for about 20 minutes, so we were good.  We rolled into our driveway at 4:30pm.  I had just enough time to unload, change Leah, fix an extra bottle for her, and hopped back in the car to go on up to choir practice.

My heart was not in it, I must confess.  I swore I would leave early.  I swore I would not sing.  But once I got there, got through the warm ups, and started the rehearsal, I was in my element, exhausted though I was.  8:00 came very quickly, and then I hopped back in the car and roared off to the grocery store to pick up only what I needed to fix Michael’s lunch for Monday.  He called and asked me to grab him some dinner since he hadn’t eaten since 11:00 that morning, so I went through McD’s and got home.

And then the wind went out of my sails.  I had such a bad headache that even though I took extra strength Excedrin, it did nothing to touch it. I had gotten 3 letters from Penny and her mother, so I wanted to email them both back, which I did, but then I just went straight to bed.  I felt sick I was so tired.

Leah slept through the night, thank God, and she didn’t get up till about 7 this morning.  She was back in bed around 9:30 for a nap and I followed shortly thereafter at 10:00 this morning.  I laid there for about 5 minutes thinking, “I’m never going to fall asleep” but lo and behold I did and slept till 12:30.  Finally I felt human again.  We did some grocery shopping and spent some time out in the baby pool before Michael got home and we were able to have dinner and put Leah to bed.  We started reading a book together and now I am going back to bed!  It was an amazing weekend, but we had to be pretty crazy to do that much driving for only a couple of days.  I’m serious about staying up there for a while next summer.  It’ll be nice to have some downtime after Penny leaves and to enjoy some good weather.  Plus I’ll be able to actually visit with people for a while instead of 15 minutes here and there.  We’ll see how next summer shapes up.  If it’s anything like this summer, I haven’t got a prayer!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Barfin’ Arfin

My second selection for the Twenty-Ten Book Challenge’s Up To You section was Lesley Arfin’s Dear Diary.  Last year and the year before, I stumbled upon David Nadelberg’s Mortified books, which were diary entries that he had collected from random people who agreed to have them published.  The Mortified series is a delicious bit of voyeurism, and I fully expected the same from Dear Diary.  Lesley Arfin decided to publish bits and pieces of her diaries from when she was a pre-teen until in her early twenties.  The premise was that she would try to find the people she wrote about and follow up with them after the fact to see what had gone wrong or right in their relationships.  Lesley’s life was one of a self-described “Long Island JAP” (Jewish American Princess) turned heroin addict. 

I was so excited to read this book and so disappointed in what it turned out to be.  A few weeks ago, while browsing in Joseph Beth’s humor section, I came up on the book Look At This F*cking Hipster by Joe Mande.  In the introduction, he writes that his parents would often visit him in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and his father would see people walking down the street and ask his son, “Is that a hipster?”  I read the book and laughed like hell, I had no idea there was a term for the sorts of people that hipsters turn out to be (if you want to know what a hipster looks like, visit Joe’s site at

While I was reading Dear Diary, I kept thinking, “Is she a hipster?”  I must have sounded just like Joe’s dad.  And lo and behold, I drew my own conclusions that yes, Lesley Arfin must be a hipster.  Someone who is so desperate to be cool that they revel in their ironic uncoolness until people worship them.

I could say more, but I found a review on that sums up pretty much everything I could possibly want to say about it.  Credit where it is due, this comes from someone named Mary Maddox, who gave it one star. (I’m excerpting the review down to the most basic points that say everything I hated about the book.)

1.Because Dear Diary is the worst kind of lazy, tin-eared, hackneyed, narcissistic memoir: imagine Dave Eggers's solipsistic obsession for self-chronicling but without the interesting life or the literary chops that make his confessions compelling and readable. Instead, imagine pages from the diary of an entirely unremarkable Long Island teenager/heroin addict followed by "updates" from the entirely unremarkable near-thirty-year-old hipster hanger-on she grew up to be. Now imagine this charade dragging on for a horribly self-indulgent 232 pages. Now try not to gouge out your own eyes.

2.Because peppered lovingly throughout all 232 of these pages— along with many forced allusions to countercultural touchstones, wretchedly written paeans about Arfin’s “passion for writing,” and constant assertions of her apparently sincere belief that this “book” will “change lives”—is the casual ironic racism, sexism, and heterosexism that is a huge part of Vice culture. What’s funny about calling someone a “fag” or a “dyke” for Vice folks, as far as I can gather, is that this shocks well-intentioned, let’s-all-just-get-along type liberals, for whom they have nothing but the most virulent scorn. What Arfin fails to understand is that the average 15-year-old girl in Minnesota, or even one in Long Island, will not grasp the transgressive irony of her incessant gay-bashing and will see it only (and this is perhaps closer to Arfin’s own true motivation) as a way to be cool.

3.Because, by some miracle of astonishing arrogance, Arfin sees herself as a role model and encourages her readers to follow her life path. At the end of her “book,” Arfin opines, “I hope everyone who reads it makes as many mistakes as I did. Just remember that mistakes are only worth it if they get written down in a diary. If you’re lost at sea in your late 20s and you don’t know what to do with your life, maybe you’ll be able to convince someone to publish it.”

Ah, yes, children. She’s right. The surest route to personal fulfillment is to get addicted to heroin, compulsively record your boring, belligerently ignorant observations, and befriend some super-rich douchebags who’ll publish your tripe! But you’d also better be sure that your parents are rich enough to pay for your expensive liberal arts college, send you to rehab twice, and subsidize your kitschily decorated apartment on the lower east side!

I was far too bored to really ponder the half-assed, "J.K.—kind of!" sarcasm with which Arfin qualifies this and other more grandiose claims. I would guess that it functions to absolve her of culpability should some unfortunate teen take her seriously and end up dead in an alley. "J.K., dead dude! Didn't you get that I was being, like, totally ironic?"

Ok, fine, I didn’t excerpt a whole lot of it.  But you can see the discontent this book causes.  Ugh.  My “Up to You!” category was substance abuse, and this is my second entry.  Afrin does devote a lot of her book to describing drugs’ effects on her and her stints in rehab, so good enough.  Anyway, I gave the book 2 stars, only because it was pretty readable—I wanted to see what the heck she was going to say next.  However, I quickly listed the book for swap on PBS, which is where I got it from, and can’t wait to ship it off to its new home.

Thus endeth another review for the TwentyTen Book Challenge.  I am sorely tempted to count this as a BBC selection as technically a diary is a book so it’s a book about a book, but I don’t want to waste a selection on this book! 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Yard Sailing…

Yesterday was our big yard sale.  I’ve been watching a lot of “clean up your house” shows on TV since I’ve been home, and it has really inspired me to clean out the clutter myself.  I had so much junk that I was able to hold a yard sale and invited several others to participate with me.  Yesterday was the big day.

I always feel a bit sad when I put things out for sale, and yesterday was no exception, really.  Looking at Leah’s baby things out there got me all misty-eyed and wistful.  I usually feel quite confident that I’ve put the right things out, but there is always one or two things that I think, “Well, maybe I shouldn’t have done that.”  Nothing has struck me yet, but I’m sure it will.

I took a chance and asked one lady who came over about her hair.  She was African-American and had the most beautiful head of hair, I just loved it.  Leah’s hair continues to be a mystery to me.  It turns out, the woman I spoke to was an adoption social worker at Fairfax County Department of Family Services.  We had the most amazing chat about adoption and hair and it was really life affirming…  She gave me her card and asked me to keep in touch.  I certainly shall!

After we took most of the valuable stuff back in the house, I posted our left overs on Craig’s List and Freecycle and waited for people to come grab it.  However, after all the heat yesterday, there was a terrible thunderstorm in the late afternoon.  Fortunately, our neighbor’s son came over and helped me get everything up on the porch just as quick as you please, and a gentleman who stopped over to pick up a few things also helped us work to get things under cover.  I grabbed some blankets and trash bags and got most everything covered before the rains came. 

Last night, 6 Freecyclers rolled and took probably 60% of what was out there.  The main things I have left to deal with are some furniture (dining room chairs, coffee table), books, VHS tapes, and odds and ends.  I’ve reposted to Freecycle this morning and we’ll see what happens.  By noon, everything is going.  To the dump, to Goodwill, to wherever, I’m loading it up and taking it out of here.

It feels good.  I like knowing that I have made my home a lot nicer, that I’ve helped people who need it, that I’ve cleared out the clutter in more ways than one.  Today, I have a metric ton of cleaning to do, getting clothes boxed up so I can consign them this fall, picking up the toys and stuff that got strewn around while a pile of babies and toddlers were running through the house while their parents were losing probably 8 pounds each in sweat alone outside, our normal dump run, and getting ready for the week ahead.  It will be busy, but short, as I’m heading up to my dad’s for his retirement party this coming weekend.

But I’m proud of what I accomplished, grateful to my friends who stood by me and helped out (Thanks mucho Cindy and Jason and Manda!) and ready to tackle our next project: preparing the house for a teenager!  *Cue scary music*

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Just Feel Like Blogging

Not a whole lot to report, but I will probably wind up making this a longer post than I expect…  It has been both busy and not so busy around here lately.  Leah is keeping me on my toes.  She seems to be going through some kind of a growth spurt, and she is extremely crabby one second and then laughing till she pukes the next second.  Can babies have manic depression?  I don’t know.  But if they can, she’s got it.

This past weekend was nice.  My sister and her family came over on Saturday and used the baby pools and brought stuff down for the yard sale.  Our back room is getting filled to capacity.  I will be so glad to get rid of all this stuff, you have no idea.  My friend Cindy asked me if I was getting rid of the baby stuff, and I answered yes.  Of course, the question arises, what if you adopt again?

This is a question I’ve been struggling with, particularly in light of the fact that so many of the SAHM’s I hang around with seem obsessed with the question of whether or not to have another baby.  It is a discussion I attempt to avoid by leaving their company if it comes up, as it still evokes a lot of painful emotions for me.

The fact of the matter is, if we were to adopt again in the future, and I’m not ruling it out, there is so much to think about.  First off is timing.  Michael and I both agree that we are in no rush.  Leah is literally a full time job, and I feel I owe it to her 150% to be involved in her growing up.  I do not feel the need to add a sibling to her life any time soon.  I don’t know if there are any studies about how much time between siblings is beneficial, but I know from watching other children around me that if I were to have a baby enter the picture in a year or two, my patience would be at its breaking point.  If I were in my 20’s again, that would be one thing, but I am not.  Let’s face facts.  I’m going to be 35 this year (GULP!).  I don’t have the energy of a young mom, and I don’t have the patience either.  So it seems to me that it would better to wait until Leah is in school even part time before deciding to bring another newborn home.  By that time, I will be pushing 40.  Does it make sense to have another small infant when I’m 40 years old?  I really don’t know.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, if someone were to walk up to me on the street and say, “I’m giving my baby up for adoption and you are the one person on the planet I know I must give this baby to”, I would not turn them down, not even close.  But it certainly gives me pause.

We have considered doing foster care and also adopting an older child.  Part of our reasoning behind attempting this exchange student business is that we will gain some experience in parenting a teen.  I don’t know that I would necessarily want to adopt a teenager, but to see how I can relate to a child who is not biologically mine and is not a sweet, cuddly little infant is going to be interesting.  Again, we have time to think about it, but it’s good to try things out and see what we think about various things.

We have been looking into a day care situation for Leah to enter just one day per week already.  This is for several reasons.  I do feel she needs to socialize with other children on a regular basis, hopefully and particularly other non-white children.  She is a good little girl, but she is a little rough with other babies and I think it’s because we spend a couple hours here and there with other children and then we go home and she’s able to pretty much do whatever the heck she wants.  She is also extremely attached to me.  Owing to the fact that this week I was at choir practice Sunday night and book club Monday night, tonight when Michael walked in the door, Leah had a death grip around my neck and threw a tantrum when I put her down.  Finally I put her up to bed.  I could not cook dinner and deal with not being able to put her down.  We both feel that maybe a day off for me and a day with other people on a regular basis would be a good idea.  However, I don’t want to send her off any more than one day a week.  Unfortunately, we haven’t found any place that will take an infant for just a day.  Most places don’t start that until the infants are 2 1/2.  So for now, we are soldiering through and I am enjoying my time with her very much.

Another consideration is the cost.  I don’t know that it is necessarily fair to spend all that money on getting another child when I could put that same amount of money away towards Leah’s first year of college.  It really sucks to have to start that far behind the eight ball.  Leah is worth it, another child would be worth it, but at the same time, financial aid offices at universities don’t see “paid +$30K in adoption fees to get this kid” and then decide to give you a full scholarship.

So, we’ll see what happens down the road.  For now, though, we are going to get rid of a lot of stuff, as even if we were to have another baby enter our lives, it’s not worth storing everything.  And since there’s no guarantee that it’ll happen, I’m not holding onto anything “just in case”.

I finished clearing out the house and closets.  All I have to clear out now is the shed.  We have rented a Uhaul to transport some furniture to my sister’s and to bring her stuff down here.  I am going to call the Hospice thrift shop tomorrow and schedule for them to pick up anything that is left over.  Nothing is going back in the house.  Period.  Then finally, I’ll be able to clear out the downstairs room, paint it up, and we will be able to have everyone over to do the wiring and move the radio gear and antennas.  Then Mike and I will be able to take out what’s left of the fence.  Yahoo!

Being back on WW hasn’t been too bad.  I lost 4.4 pounds my first week, which was great.  It has been a lot easier to have Mike on board.  He is having a really hard time eating all his points.  We have had to even make a post-dinner McDonald’s run to get him food to round out the points.  I made a string of paper clips to represent the 100 pounds I want to lose and I’ve now taken 4 off.  It’s a long chain, but I’m looking forward to watching it get shorter and shorter as we go on.

We have been sending lots of emails back and forth to Penny’s mom, but Penny is a bit shy at the moment, so we haven’t heard from her much.  I sent her the package that I had been working on and it should get there next week.  I hope she likes everything.  We made her a CD of current popular American music, and sent her a personalized license plate from Myrtle Beach.  She has a very nice family indeed.  I am enjoying getting my morning emails from Linda and reading about the family and what they have been doing.  Penny does not feel comfortable calling us Mom and Dad, so she has decided to call us Chief and Cookies.  One guess as to where that idea came from.

Next weekend, we are heading north to NY to celebrate my dad’s retirement.  I feel crappy about being able to go when I was not able to go for my mom’s surgery last month, but the timing for everything just turned out how it did.  I don’t expect that I will get back to NY again this summer, and I will only be up there 48 hours or so, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.  Mom and I have been busy talking about her 60th birthday party.  I am looking forward to getting down there for it.  We are planning on renting a party barge van and all of us (my sister and her family and us) will drive down together.  After the party, I plan to take Penny to Disney World while Leah stays home with her father.  That will be my Florida trip for the year.  So all we have to do is figure out when to get to Rhode Island and we’re in business.  I printed out next year’s school calendar. It’s going to seem weird to be back on a schedule like that again.  Although it really doesn’t make a whole lot of difference in the end.

george cherepon My dad’s cousin sent me a link to a bunch of old photographs.  I was going through one and found one marked with my grandfather’s name.  It is a picture of him when he was in Hawaii with the Navy.  Can I just say that I burst into tears and cried on and off for two days?  When we sang “Anchors Aweigh!” in choir practice, I totally lost it.  It is nice to see him looking so young and healthy.  I wonder if there are other pictures of him out there that I don’t know about.

That’s about all from here.  There’s really not anything else going on.  I guess that’s probably enough! :-) 

Friday, June 04, 2010

House Projects Done! (For a While)

Woo hoo!  The house projects are mainly done now.  We have had workmen in here pretty steadily for a year.  Some of the work was unintentional, but a lot of what we did was what we wanted!

This time last year, our central air went on the blink.  We called for repair and the old unit was leaking Freon.  They refilled it, but cautioned us that if we continued to have problems, we’d need to replace the unit.  Lo and behold, we came back from New Jersey and Janet Evanovich and I felt like the a/c was just not doing its job.  They came back out and said we needed a new unit, or we’d be paying $300 every two weeks for new Freon.  (Is that supposed to be capitalized?  Microsoft says it should be!)

So the day I left to go and tend to my dad and his heart attack, we signed a contract on a new central air unit.  Because of the adoption, we wound up financing the majority of the cost of it, and so we paid it off all year until this spring when we finished paying it off with our tax return.  In addition to the good cool air we are getting and the slightly cheaper utility bills (only slightly), we did get to use it for our energy tax credit, which was nice.

Over the winter, I decided I couldn’t live with the lighting situation as it was any more.  I was good sick and tired of constantly having to lean over the dining room table to turn the light on.  I was tired of not having any lighting in our living room, save one stupid floor lamp.  I was tired of the kitchen light blowing bulbs every 2 weeks.  You will recall that during the blizzard in December, we had gone around to visit our neighbors and bring cookies to everyone.  Well, we spent a good amount of time, probably an hour or more, with our neighbors Manfred and Bobbie.  It turns out that Manfred has an electrical business with his son, Wyatt. *Ding ding ding*  We have a winner!!!  Time to call Manfred and ask him to help us out. We set up a time for them to come in January and they came an installed 4 pot lights in the living room ceiling, correctly wired the dining room light, and replaced the kitchen ceiling fan.  They did an amazing job—they even vacuumed!  All for about $450, plus the cost of the fan.  I am so happy to be able to flip a switch and the light comes on over the table.  I haven’t changed a light bulb in the kitchen yet.  And the living room light, what can I say?  AMAZING!  We can sit in there any time now.  I love it.

Well, lo and behold, we got to thinking and the General decided Leah needed a new ceiling fan.  When we also got to talking about moving the office downstairs, he really wanted to have a ceiling fan in that room as well before putting all the equipment in there.  So we went ahead and hired Manfred and Wyatt to come back and put up two more ceiling fans. 

Then we started on to find out where we could get the house painted, the landscaping cleaned up, the new doors installed, and the shutters replaced.  Of all those projects, the only thing I demanded be done was to have the doors replaced.  We finally found companies to work with that we really liked—the only bad thing was that there were 2 people we had to turn down, both of whom I really liked.  The door estimates dragged on forever.  It seems doors are big business.  Eventually, we cancelled 3 appointments for even more estimates.  My head was swimming from sales calls and pitches, and we finally hired Window World to do the doors, which I frankly suspected we would do all along. They did our windows 4 years ago and did an amazing job, and they did our gutters, soffits, and downspouts 2 years ago and I loved the old guy they sent out here to work on the house.  I liked their salesman too, so I was disappointed when he didn’t show up this time, but I guess he had decided it was time to retire. 

We hired World of Color ( to do the paint and they kicked in a 10% discount if we let them do the shutters too, and their shutter price was mid-range of what the other estimates were.  We had one estimate of $400 and one of $1000, and they were at $700, but gave us a nice discount on the paint and shutters if we bundled them, which allowed us to do both projects.  I was ever so happy to get rid of that crappy green paint, you have no idea!   I really liked the owner of the place too, he was so friendly and we had a lot of nice chats about babies and infertility and all that stuff of all things to discuss with your house painter!

For our landscaping we hired Kinetic Resources LLC.  Mainly because he was the only guy that we requested an estimate for who showed up and gave us the estimate!  But I really liked Brett, the guy who came out and who did all the work, and they gave us an awesome price to really clean up the yard.

There are still so many things I’d like to do to the house, but for now, I am going to bask in the doneness of these projects.  All we have left to do is have our yard sale to get rid of a bunch of stuff (June 12, by the way, and 4 families are participating, so come and buy some goodies!) and then move the bedroom and office.  This should all be completed by the end of June.

For the outside, I would like to put in a nice patio out back, do some actual landscaping, and replace the driveway and front walk.

Inside, haha, where to start?  I’d like to gut the kitchen and replace it with a much nicer set up, bump out the back of the house and add an actual dining room, replace all the flooring throughout the house, have all the ceilings painted, gut and replace the bathrooms, possibly add a master suite up in the crawlspace over the kitchen/living room level.

There’s time.  God willing, we won’t be leaving this house any time soon.  It’s a good place to call home, and getting better one TLC project at a time.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Life’s Little Moments

There hasn’t been anything major really worth blogging about.  I mean, there has, but stupid Facebook and microblogging has taken over, despite my vow that I would be fiercely dedicated to blogging.  Ugh.

Anyway, the two major things that happened are that my mom had surgery to repair her knee from her fall back at Christmas and that my dad and I are speaking again.  Mom had her stitches out today and the doctor was pleased with her progress.  She starts PT for 3 weeks next week and then should be good to go.

I got real sad and lonely for my dad right before we left for Myrtle Beach, so I called him.  He is happily single again and living the good life at home.  Hopefully we will get up there this summer.

We are busy nearly every day.  I take Leah to the play park at the mall (I don’t do heat, the summer SUCKS) and try to keep her entertained more and more.  As she gets bigger and bigger and steadier and steadier, she wants to be on the go.  I set up a couple of pools in our backyard and she totally loves them.  We also got her birth certificate in the mail this past week, so we are nearly ready to make her a Kosior.  Just have to go to Social Security to finalize the whole thing, which of course is a bit sticky since He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named works there.  I’m sure we can be adults if we run into each other.

My Bosom Buddies DVD’s arrived and I have enjoyed the hell out of season 1.  It is so nice to see Tom Hanks doing comedy.  He and the show are still laugh out loud funny.

Today I was driving up 95 and saw an SUV with a bumper sticker that said “I miss W.”  I had to restrain myself from running that person off the road.

I am more pissed than I can say about this oil spill, so I am refraining from saying anything.

The National Book Festival author list is out.  There’s no one I’m interested in seeing.  If I finish The Corrections by then and enjoy it, then I might go see Jonathan Franzen, but if I don’t get to it, no big deal.

Our interview form still hasn’t been turned into the head office for AFS, so we STILL cannot contact Penny.  It’s extremely frustrating that it’s been nearly 2 weeks that one stupid form has been held up.  Everything else is done.  We’ll send out another request in the morning and hopefully we will be able to contact her this weekend.  It sucks hard.

Getting back into WW in a low key kind of way, trying not to make a huge deal of it so I don’t set myself up for failure.  Have been doing it almost a week now and it’s been fine.  I’ll update on that from time to time.

Emily was down last weekend and we went to the berry patch.  We had a good time, especially when I backed down the driveway, directly into her car.  Ugh.  how the hell is my memory span so short that I can’t remember there’s a car in the driveway as I’m driving backwards?  Fortunately no damage to her car, but I was extremely upset with myself.  There is a big scratch in our bumper, but no dents or anything, so that’s good.  I will have to have it taken care of before winter brings salt and sand with it.

The dentist wants me to have a third crown done, surprise surprise.  I don’t much feel like it, and it’s so much money out of our pockets that I don’t know that I will do it right now.  The previous dentist I saw told me not to worry about it as long as the filling held.  My main complaint with this dental practice is that it seems I rarely see the same dentist twice, so consequently, it feels like I’m getting new diagnoses each time.  I’m going to just have to request to only see Dr. Johnson from now on.  Since it’s his practice, I know he’ll stick around for a while.  Even the hygienists didn’t know which dentists were around.  Frustrating, particularly when I love going to the dentist so much in the first place. (*cough cough*)  I’ve been through 3 dentists there now and just went on the website and confirmed that all 3 are gone.  I saw a 4th on Tuesday, and while he was a nice guy, I don’t know if I want him doing the crown.  I just feel cranky about the whole damned thing.  So there.

So see?  Lots of little crap going on, but nothing worth blogging about in little bits and pieces.  I’ll be back with another news round up when the spirit moves me! :-D