Saturday, June 07, 2008

6/7/08 Shoe color

I took all 3 to Howard's for summer sandals today. Unfortunately, Katrina was in a horrid state, no doubt due to poor sleep from last night's sleepover, and cried and fussed through the whole shopping expedition.

So I was in no position to browse or ponder decisions. This resulted in exactly what I wanted to avoid: bright pink sandals. She's suddenly rebelled against her Crocs, and needs sock-less summer shoes, so it was a matter of urgency. I could have gotten the boy navy blue color, but then thought that none of her clothes would look right. Hence, bright pink.

When we got home, it turned out that the new sandals are way too hard to put on without socks, so back they'll go. I dug around in our shoe stash and found two pairs of sandals that are exactly her size -- both navy blue! Hand-me-downs from her boy cousin, I believe. She likes -- well, barely tolerates -- a pair of Elefantens that her aunt got off eBay many years ago. So much for trying to match stuff.

The only way I was able to pay for the shoes was to ask Gabriel to push her around in the stroller in circles outside the store in the mall, a scene which attracted the attention of a security guard. Though he was ready to pin Worst Mall Mom Of The Week on me, I was actually very proud and relieved that I have Gabriel to count on. Gabriel took his "job" very seriously, and is very cooperative and helpful when I ask him to do something related to Katrina. His caring and effort were rewarded with a big anti-brother tantrum on the way out, angry that he was pushing the stroller instead of me. SHEEZ!

I'd had wild ideas about procrastinating unpacking by crashing a picnic after shoe-shopping, but Katrina was a complete mess on the way home. Straight to crib, here's Mimi, long nap, thank goodness. Just in time for Julian to take over -- he was awful today, getting into such huge fusses he couldn't reason or hear that he was going to get something. Gabriel, thankfully, was great today. He too was tired, but he curled up in his bed under the covers and took a nap! He is far, far and away our easiest child right now. I never thought I'd say that. (A few moms were giving me comfort and support at the shoe store when Katrina was freaking, which I greatly appreciated, but I told them the good news is that sweet, helpful little boy pushing her around in the stroller was worse, so I know this is temporary!)

Unpacking is a brutal, horrible task. And that's just the kitchen stuff! I still haven't found my prep knives or our drinking glasses. I really didn't do a good enough job setting aside things we need. Nightlights, for instance, and Katrina's sippy-cup. I spent all afternoon digging for my cooking oils, determined to bake brownies, and found them well past the time to start dinner.

I cooked dinner for the first time here at our "new" house, on my "new" electric range. Now I finally understand why cooking instructions say "remove from heat" instead of "turn off the heat" -- long after turning off a burner, things are still at a rolling boil! But what a rolling boil. I've never seen water boil so furiously in my old kitchen, nor so quickly. I knew I'd had a lame cooktop, but wow. This cooktop has some burners that are bigger than others, which I really don't like. I'm glad my new cooktop will have six burners with identical functions.

This house is bright and sunny all day, more than our home-house ever will be. I'm still getting used to the new kitchen, but I'm very happy not to have an island to hike around to get from the main prep area to the fridge. However, I discovered tonight that carrying a boiling pan of water all the way across the kitchen with a toddler clinging to your leg is tricky. Katrina picked that moment to play this game of grabbing my leg and looking up at me and saying in a joking voice, "Mama!" Unfortunately, Julian imitates that game too, and it doesn't wear well on a 4-year-old.

I'm typing from Dave's computer, so haven't had a chance to upload photos yet. There's not much to see. You'll have to take my word for it that Katrina is adorable, despite her increasingly insistent and intolerant demeanor. The boys are getting truly shaggy and need haircuts, but that's not as urgent as finding my tea kettle.


Friday, June 06, 2008

6/6/08 MOVED!

Whew -- we did it! Now we just have to dig out of piles and piles of boxes at our "new" home. Both Dave and I have trouble calling it home.

I'm writing from our "old" house, as we don't have phone or Internet at the new one yet. It's completely empty, echo-y, yet still so familiar. The walls and floors are filled with memories and familiar feelings. I look around and think, "this is where I brought my three children home after they were born." I can't imagine what it'll be like when we really move from here.

The move went really really well, thanks to a very organized moving company and an efficient crew. They gave us boxes ahead of time to pre-pack, lots of advice on packing, and suggested we move the bedrooms over the first day. This worked really well, and then some. The intent was to pack until early afternoon, including loading all the bedroom furntiture and boxes. Then they'd bring over the bedrooms, unload those, re-assemble beds, and unload bedroom boxes so that we'd have bedding and clothes.

In practice, the unload didn't start until much later, because they decided to push and load the ENTIRE house the first day. This made for a very hectic 2 hours -- was it only two hours?! -- in which ten guys were unloading things far faster than I could direct them. They'd called for more guys and trucks, so in the end, there were four trucks and crews there unloading. I was getting frantic because Dave was going to arrive with three tired hungry children in a few minutes and I was still directing streams of guys with boxes and all kinds of stuff.

(Not to mention, take a WILD guess here, a splitting, vicious, horrendous headache that would not go away. Zooming around helped me forget it for a moment at a time, but if I stopped to breathe, it would slam me in waves of excruciating pain. It wasn't a migraine yet, just a severe headache, but naturally developed into a migraine today.)

During the unload, one of the guys brought in a wall shelf in Katrina's room I'd marked "LEAVE HERE," and asked the foreman, "Where does this go? It's marked LEAVE HERE!" Next time, I'll make a bigger effort to find color-coded tape to mark things to leave behind!

They got everything except one truck unloaded, bedrooms set up, and went home at about 6:30. We went out to dinner, after a wild goose chase for an item I very foolishly didn't set aside and is now buried in an anonymous box somewhere: Katrina's sippy cup. This morning, the truck with the remainder of our things returned, and it was a very easy unload, plus a trip to our "old" house for a refrigerator. We were done by 10:30am.

Suggestion to anyone moving soon: mark all your outlets, phone jacks and cable outlets high on the wall in your new place BEFORE furniture blocks them all!

And now, the monumental task of digging out. We have way WAY too much stuff -- I was tempted to tell them to just turn the truck around and go straight to Good Will! Since then, I've looked around our garage, and I'm horrified. It would take days to dig out of there. Thank goodness we don't have to. I'm determined to come back to this house with less stuff than we left it with.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

6/4/08 Cramming for the test

There comes a point while studying for a final exam after which you know your fate is sealed -- you're out of time, your brain has shut down, that's it. You're going in with what you have. Packing and moving is much the same way. We're set, even if we're not.

Deep breath, mountain pose, quick prayer, we go! It's tomorrow!


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

6/3/08 Easter baskets

See, this is the problem with trying to pack to move. Easter baskets sum it up perfectly. Keep? Store? Pack? Throw away? They're not quite worth boxing up and moving. But it's a pain to buy new ones every year. And how do you store them so they don't take up a ton of space for something so light and cheap? Arrgh....just don't know what to do with easter baskets. They've become a metaphor for everything that stands between me and a perfectly boxed-up house. Mental gridlock.

I took a break from the dilemmas this evening to take my little patriot to do our civic duty.

She hogged all the "sih-ers," to the delight of the grandparently poll workers.

I'm forgetting what life is like when it's not about to be completely disrupted!


Monday, June 02, 2008

6/2/08 They grow so fast...

As much as I hate the long round-trip to pick up Katrina, I have truly come to relish that time if the boys are with me. Though I drive with them often, most of the trips are too short to get into conversations.

Today after Gabriel's piano lesson, more of such talks.

Gabriel often asks me about news stories he overhears on the radio. It's a lot of fast grownup talk, volume low, with car noise, and Gabriel's questionable hearing. Yet out of a lot of mumbo-jumbo I was barely listening to, he heard enough to ask:

"Mom, who's Barack Obama? And where's he running?"

I explained as best I could. Fortunately, Gabriel does know about voting: "Yeah, we voted for chocolate ice cream on the last field trip!" Now he wants to vote for Barack Obama.

Meantime, Julian wants to be a policeman when he grows up, but he doesn't want his police car to have a siren.

Our return trip was a much more familiar "conversation": NO FIGHTING IN THE CAR BOYS. ONE MORE TIME AND I WILL STOP THIS CAR AND YOU BOTH WILL GET IN HUGE TROUBLE. screeEEECH! brake fast, enage ABS -- that freaks them out.

Before that, the boys played on an odd bridge structure outside the community center (one with about a 6' dropoff into what looks like a dry fountain; what is that doing there?).

Later, in rebellion to alllll the things we have to do around here, I made cookies with Julian. I couldn't really pack anyway; I was burnt and Katrina was a short-timer by then, so I spent some quality time keeping my younger son out of my older son's hair (though daughter picked up the slack and bugged him anyway). Julian measured, poured, stirred and practiced his excellent egg-cracking skills (no shells, didn't even break the yolk!), and was full of loving comments, relishing the moment alone with me <guilt>.

Fresh home-baked cookies became an incentive for a quick bath and PJs -- no putzing around when the stakes are this high!

Katrina had a great time today playing in music class, provided I did the exact right thing, which today was not to interfere. I get remarks from other grownups in almost every class about how independent and free-spirited she is (tantrum moments aside). Most kids roam around on and off too, but she's rarely in my lap past the first few minutes.

We did one song "Dancing with Teddy" with teddies, borrowed from the teacher's daughter, and this was a big hit.

She followed another little girl's lead (who's just a few weeks older) in sitting on the teddy and bouncing on it. Their interaction is pretty cute (well, to me):

We got a visit from the city's Public Works department today, probably in response to an email Dave sent this morning expressing waning confidence in the process (such as mentioning a water meter upgrade when we already did that in 2004). The guy was not expecting to talk to us, but happened upon a rare moment that we were both home and I saw him and flagged Dave.

His lame explanation of the mysterious fees, and other statements that sounded like bad excuses for not doing his homework has made us decide to request a complete itemization of the nearly $10,000 in permit fees. He had an ancient record with him that says our house is a 2BR/1BA/single-story (it was, 30 years ago), and was prepared to "nail" us for having a much larger house than that. There is far, far too much hand-waving going on with our money here.

I'm working on a quickie Web site devoted to the whole remodeling project, using Google Page Creator. It's got serious limitations, but it'll have to do! I wish it had password-protection; I want to keep it detailed for our own reference, but dissing city officials isn't in our best interests right now.

This photo is the most heartwarming and comforting scene of the day. This is what you want to see when you're about to tear your house apart: your architect and your contractor talking together. Every conversation is another prevented problem.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

6/1/2008 Pack pressure

Argh! The more I get done, the more I'm behind!

I'm actually trying not to pack too much; instead I'm focusing on organizing and sorting things that the professional packers can pack easily. I want to tell them "pack everything in this room, label it for XYZ room in the new house, and put it on the truck," instead of, "pack the top shelf and the three at the bottom, except this box which I'll need out, label most of them for XYZ room except for the things on the floor and the 2nd shelf which go to ABC room."

Katrina peed in the little potty again tonight -- 3rd time this week! Now whenever I take her diaper off, she looks down and goes "beeee!" I wish we weren't so preoccupied; her #2s are fairly predictable too and we could really run with potty-training. She's been talking a lot more lately, and recognizing more abstract images. Today she pointed to a circular object in a photo and said, "Buh-bool!" (bubble), and now recognizes that two-wheeled vehicles are "BYYYE??" and cars are "DDOHHH??"

On the potty subject, for the past week we haven't been waking Julian up to pee, and he's been dry every morning, yay! Even if he has an accident, I'd still say he's done. Gabriel sometimes says he wants to go without Pull-Ups, but he's hardly sincere and resists the alarm idea. No energy for that right now.