There’s A Graduate in the House

It’s official!  Liam is no longer a pre-schooler.

And in few years, it’ll be Jamie’s turn…

I’m so proud of him!  In the fall, it’s off to Kindergarten.  🙂


What Was Different About Today

Like almost every other parent in the Pittsburgh area, I read Burgh Baby. One of the things she has said about the challenge of blogging every day is that she asks herself “What was different about today?” Some days that answer is good, some days that answer is bad.

Today was one of the bad days in my house. Jamie is apparently working on another tooth and it’s making him just about as miserable as he’s ever been. He can’t nap. He can’t play. He can’t eat. His whole world is revolving around the pain in his mouth. He’s crabby, to say the least.

Liam isn’t much better. Teeth are not his issue but I’m pretty sure the colony of bugs that crawled up his butt are causing some problems. His day can be summed up in one simple phrase: if given the choice between Devil or Angel, he chose Devil all day long. Jumping on the furniture? Check. Purposely doing things to make his brother cry? Check (as if Jamie needed any help with THAT). Sassing me? Checkity check check check.

I felt as though my whole day was spent yelling at one of them, attempting to console the other, and trying not to lose my cool.

Also different about today was the fact that I am in a frenzy of trip planning and packing as we are headed to Deep Creek for the holiday weekend. We’re renting a house with my parents as well as my sister and her family. There are so many things to remember to pack that I have an entire pad of paper filled with lists and my head is regularly spinning. In between bouts of screaming, teething toddler and sassy, attitude-filled 5 year old I was attempting to take a whack at packing.

And then there were two moments, one really good and one enraging, that also made today different. I’ll start with the good one just to break up all this whiny stuff.

I took the kids outside to play in the kiddie pool this afternoon. It was Jamie’s first time doing so and he was pretty into it. I took a blanket out there with us and spread it on the lawn so I could sit and be comfortable while watching the kids. I took their towels and made a pillow so I could lay down and watch the fluffy white clouds drift by. I sat there listening to the wind in the trees and the laughter of my children. I thought to myself “Well, this is so much better than how the rest of the day has been!”

The enraging moment comes courtesy of a trip to the blog of Virginia Montanez. She has a post up today about Amy Ambrusko and the playground she is attempting to build in the memory of her two children who died in a car accident a year ago. Please go read the post for the full story as it’s really too long to summarize here.

Suffice it to say that after I read it I was enraged. To think that some people would pull the “not in my backyard” crap when a woman who is grieving is just trying to do something to benefit others makes me stabby. Truly, truly stabby. What is wrong with some people? I sat there seething – I had such a long, miserable day with the kids and this only fed into my ridiculously bad mood. I was outraged for Amy.

Which led me to think about this: my kids may have driven me completely batshit insane today but they were here. Amy doesn’t have that luxury. Who am I to let my bad mood get the best of me in the face of that? Of course, yes, I’m allowed to have a day in which I find being a parent to be the ultimate challenge. But, in the end, it’s always good to remember that it could be a whole lot worse.

So there you have it. That’s what was different about today.

Random Quotes

Liam spent some time with his Granddad yesterday and came home with The Lego Star Wars Visual Dictionary. He is in love with his new book and spends many a happy hour perusing its pages. This evening he told me “I love this book. I could read it a million times.”

I never knew it was possible to be sick of Star Wars. Thanks a lot, Liam.

Liam was having a hard time finishing his dinner tonight. Lucky me, I got to spend 20 minutes telling him to just eat his darn dinner. I think the words “Liam, JUST. EAT!” escaped my lips eleventy billion times. Finally he looked at me, sighed, and said “My life is so hard.”

Excuse me while I roll my eyes all the way back into my head.

After finally finishing his meal tonight, Liam was playing in the family room with Jamie. They’d found a Williams-Sonoma bag and were fighting with each other over it. At one point Liam tried to curl up as much of his body into the bag as possible and then declared “I’m the secret ingredient!!”

If crazy were a secret ingredient, you’d have that all sewn up, kid.

Make That Bike, Not Trike

Summer is upon us and thus it is the season of bike riding. Liam has a tricycle and helmet that he’s had some interest in over the last couple of years but it’s never really been a big thing. However, this spring, it was painfully obvious that the tricycle is officially too small.

Well, we finally remedied that problem.

We bought him a two-wheeler with training wheels and a new helmet because he outgrew the other one. Which, as an aside, holy crap! I knew the kid had a big head (oh BOY do I know) but we bought him the 5+ size when he was three and we just purchased the 8+ size – he is five. I constantly wonder how he fits that melon through the neck of his shirts.

Without further ado – his first time on the new bike:

Walls Were Just The Beginning

You know that old adage about how bad things come in threes?  Well, it’s holding far more true than I would like when it comes to home repairs.

Our house is 35 years old.  It is a veritable baby in comparison to our previous home that was 80 years old when we moved out.  I assumed that having a younger house meant less silly “oh that’s really old and now you’re screwed” type of repairs.  Here is where I reference the adage about what assuming does.

Anyway, the point is that in the middle of dealing with the beginning, middle, and completion of wall construction, a number of OTHER things went wrong with the house.  Money is flowing in a mighty torrent from my bank account to the repairmen of Pittsburgh.  (Repairmen of Pittsburgh — decent band name.)

First, our garbage disposal went haywire.  It got stuck in the “on” position.  We have one of those nifty professional models that turns on by twisting the drain plug in the sink.  No switch on the wall by the sink.  Just reach down, twist, and churn away.  I’d never seen one before we moved here.  Now I know why.  That sucker got effed up somehow (I don’t know how!) and it got stuck in the on position.  I’ll let you go ahead and imagine the frantic attempts to shut it off to no avail until I finally cut the power at the breaker box.  As luck would have it, the thing is on its own circuit so I didn’t lose power to anything else in the process.

I haven’t had anyone in to fix it yet but it will probably be around a $250 job to replace the batch feed switch on the silly thing.

Then there was my garage door.  I was standing in the library one Saturday afternoon (yes, we have a library – we have too many books and the formal living room became a library) and I heard a huge crashing noise.  I ran around for 10 minutes trying to locate the issue until I decided that maybe it had happened outside and I hit the garage door button to check.

The door went up about a foot and a half.

The door opener tried to lift it further, got nowhere with that effort, and sent the door back down again.

Lather, rinse, repeat about 4 times until I satisfied myself it was not a fluke.

So, I went over and while the opener was running, I lifted that damn door all the way up so that I could get my car out.  And then I noticed that certain pulleys and wires were hanging willy nilly off the tracks of the door.  Ah.  Yes, THAT would be the problem.

I called in a repair guy who said I had bad springs.  He replaced them both for me for the low, low price of $70 (yahoo!) and also left me with a rather nice little quote for new garage doors.  If we can scrape the money together, that’s a project for the fall.

So, the door was working well for a few days.

And then it crapped out again.  This time, it would start lowering, go about a foot and a half, get caught up somehow and go back up again.  Joy.  This occurred on the first day of wall construction.

I called the repairman back and he came back out and gave that opener a piece of his mind.   Really, he just adjusted the thing to accommodate for new springs and it’s working fine now.  Even better, he didn’t charge me.

Two days later I decided that I had better do some laundry before we went out of town last weekend.  (That’s another blog post.)  I got an error on the first load.  We have a front loading high efficiency washer so those codes mean diddly-bo-jack-wop-shit to me.  I cleared it out and sent it through another rinse and spin cycle.

That crapped out, too.

Bonus.  Now I had a washing machine problem that I needed fixed immediately in order to have clean clothes to pack.  I called a local repairman and when I told him what kind of washer I had he ran away.  And told me that every other local dude would run, too.  Sigh.  So I called the next option – a large appliance repair company.  They said they’d be able to send a dude out that same day.  Hurrah!

I went to the laundry room to remove the wet clothes from the washer.  Now, this is the first time I’ve ever had the washer repaired – we only bought it 3 years ago.  So, I didn’t really think about the consequences before I opened the door of the FRONT LOADER WASHER THAT WASN’T PROPERLY DRAINING.

Water.  Everywhere. 

I got it cleaned up the best way I could without, you know, having a working washing machine and waited for the repairman to show up.  He showed up, took the thing apart and removed a single bobby pin and some lint.  Let me repeat that.  A single bobby pin and some lint.  Then he put everything back together and charged me $134.  For a single bobby pin and some lint.

But, wouldn’t you know, that washer works again and I had clean clothes for the trip.

Dear Household Fairy – UNCLE.

Construction Continues Apace

Yesterday was a washout as far as construction was concerned.  I mean that literally since it was raining like mad all day long.  The crew showed up at 7 am and started working.  By 7:45 it was pouring.  They waited it out until 9:15 or so and then gave up.   It was cold and wet and just not going to work.  I think they got about 3 blocks set before they had to admit defeat to the weather.

They had another job to complete this morning but they got here around noon today and got down to business.  They stretched quittin’ time to 3 pm but in those three short hours they completed a fair bit.

I give you progress:

This section is going to be a planter, there will be one on either side of the stairway.

This is the other side of the stairway, which they haven’t even started dealing with yet, but it will match the planter that is already started.

They say that they will be done tomorrow.  We shall see.  I can’t wait to see it completed!