Saturday, November 08, 2008

11/8/08 Trim details

Spent all night writing up all our trim selections in the house. For most remodels, this is a three-liner: "use this for the baseboard, this for the door casing, and that for window trim."

For us, it's never that simple. Many, but not all, of our windows will look like this, a basic "Craftsman-style" window trim.

Every room is different. Every room has at least one unique feature.

The trim selections were supposed to be delivered last Monday, and it still needs all sorts of checking to see how/if things will fit. It's late. It's incomplete. And I spent much time today working on it instead of doing things with the kids. But it's a necessary -- if insufficient -- step toward shaking off REMODELING as the dominant force in my life.

Gabriel spent much of the day writing a comic book.
Julian spent much of the day pestering Gabriel.
Katrina spent much of the day tearing apart the family room and scribbling in books. Nothing's cuter than when she bursts into the room and blurts out, "HI BOISE!!!"


Friday, November 07, 2008

11/7/08 For Sale

Gabriel's latest get-rich-quick scheme:

Pentagon, take note!


Thursday, November 06, 2008

11/6/08 Kid Snippets

Gabriel's classwork today included a section called "Problem Solving - Reasoning: Number Sense." It has two drawings, one with 4 apples and one with 5 oranges. The instructions say: "Draw each group with 1 less. Explain how you know there is 1 less."

Gabriel's explanation:
"because the derections said!"
(No genetic tests needed. This literal boy is most definitely his father's son.)

Then apparently his teacher corrected him, because he added:
"No, because four - 3 = 1."

Julian tonight at dinner: "Beautiful frogs are always poisonous!"
Yesterday: "Carrots are good for your eyes."

This sort of thing is all he ever says about school. But these "science snippets" are no idle comments; they're delivered thoughtfully and with great sincerity.

Katrina tonight:
(Can you tell at which point I set the couscous in front of her?)

Tonya, having raised 3 girls, makes some mean ponytails:

though my dear girl was hardly cooperative about a photo-op.

Tonya, having raised 3 girls, probably doesn't know much about Captain Underpants books. Want to keep your boy VERY BUSY and inspire new levels of disgusting potty talk? Get an irresistable Captain Underpants comic book. Especially the one with the talking piece of poop. b-LAH!

Katrina's latest phrases:

"Tha's e-NUFF -- JHHHSHHUUUUU-YAN!" ("that's enough...Julian!")
"Bye boise! Bye boise! Bye boise!" (boys, as in brothers).

No end of funny silly interesting sweet gross kid-talk around here. When offered at less than 150 decibels, it's great fun.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

11/5/08 Freud, anyone?

Last night I had a dream that I was standing in a house on the beach and watching waves come close, getting bigger and bigger. Then the waves were huge, far taller than the house and they were going to wash us away! But it wasn't a house, it was more like a department store. I rushed up to the second floor, then Dave and I were driving quickly away from the approaching wave, stopping quickly to pick up socks and other clothes for the kids. Whatever I happened to grab would be what they'd have to live with for many years, as we tried to survive after the calamity.

Being overwhelmed by huge waves? Survival mode? Desperate times ahead? No one needs Freud to analyze this one! Clearly, I have a "little" anxiety.

Still, this is nothing like the terrifying nightmares I get around migraine-time. Though nowadays I almost always feel something I've come to associate with migraines, I haven't had more than a day of a full migraine for about two weeks now. Good, because I just don't have the time.

I'm making steady progress on all the numerous items needed to order or choose for the remodel, but I'm increasingly frustrated with myself that I let it get to this. I knew at the very beginning of this project that I'd have a great deal to do, and told myself numerous times to get everything done way ahead of time, so I could sit back and relax and watch it all get built. No last-minute mad scrambles. Well guess what. It's a last-minute mad scramble. They seem to follow me (ahem)....yeah, yeah, that's the ticket, it's not my fault at all.... No Freud needed to identify that denial!


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

11/4/08 Bike bookworm

Katrina picked this book this morning to insist on bringing into the car with her, and to screech furiously over if either curious brother dared venture near her prize.

I wonder if she'll be inspired or put off someday by knowing that I rode motorcycles seriously for 10 years? (And still might again.) Oddly, I'm not nearly as nervous about her getting into bikes as her breakneck brothers. Fine, call me sexist.

An astoundingly busy difficult but productive day in remodel-land. Somehow, even though all three bathrooms tile had been chosen and laid out, it still took almost 3 hours to set up the order with a tile designer at the tile store. Countless items needed clarity ("this cap should match the field, it should be Alabaster") or minor correction ("this piece doesn't come in any of the Earth Blend colors,") or changes ("this cap costs almost $10 for a 6-inch piece?!?!!?"), and many other details that would come to light when the tile setter goes to put the tiles in place. But I think we got it down pat. Why can't I be like normal people and just pick ONE tile and say "put it in the bathroom" and that's that? No, I can't resist a beautiful border or a niche detail. I love tile.

Then I went to the kitchen designer's store to finalize the kitchen backsplash, niche, and family room fireplace. More tile. This was fun and easy, and I'm excited about how this will look, though it's quite different than my original vision.

The last bugaboo: the living room fireplace area. How will that work?

But this afternoon, the answer arrived in email, from our architect/interior designer:

I'm blown away, this is beautiful. The tile pattern is perfect, Craftsman-y without being overly heavy. Gabriel says it looks like it has eyes.

And finally, our fireplace will have a mantle! A fireplace must have a mantle!

It's tacky to talk about money, but I feel the need to "express." We just got hit with another massive bill, one that included over $50,000 of "extras" not included in the contract. Half of it was necessary, unexpected framing things, but half of it comes from electrical extras and my insatiable appetite for flexibility. "Can we run TV cable to this corner?" "We'll need an outlet up here too." "Oh, those switches will block furniture, let's move those to the other side." Ka-ching ka-ching ka-ching. Electrical especially is very hard to know how it will add up ahead of time. We still have many, many expenses coming up (just today my kitchen designer told me it'll cost $7000 just to install the cabinets!?!?!!) and we're going to top out our line of credit. OK, we had a plan for that, which was to dip into long-term savings. Except there's a whole lot less of that than there was a few months ago.

So I'm starting to get freaked out. But this is good -- I work well under pressure, and I'm now paying scrutinous attention to costs, making lists and planning for the remaining biggies. I've organized things so that our cashflow is completely under control, and positive, as it wasn't exactly a few months ago (au revoir Monsieur VISA).

Shouldn't I have done this from the beginning? Sure, and I was, but it's really difficult when the framing carpenters show you all the unexpected things they had to do, and you have no idea what that really translates to, and your house won't pass rough inspection if you don't -- you can't possibly say "NAH." And there's a lot of "it makes sense to do this now while everything's open." But the finishing materials are easier to contain. That living room fireplace and mantle won't be cheap, but I'll make sure that none of the tile costs $10 for a 6" piece.

I've had to take so much time off work, and will moreso, this month. But it'll cost us far more if this project falls behind.


Monday, November 03, 2008

11/3/08 Superstition

Is it bad luck when this black Kat crosses your path?

Observe this sweet playful scene of Julian and Katrina playing together, until he ventures into typical brother tactics. He'd have gotten pummeled by Gabriel for this.

But don't be fooled, dear reader. Notice the shift in reaction: first the characteristic screech of protest, then the quick glance to Mom...and then bursting into very convincing tears, far exceeding any actual injury or fear. The tears lasted a matter of seconds, after Mom investigated and didn't buy the act. However, notice how Julian anticipates getting into trouble, as usually he's immediately blamed for Katrina's crying. And you can see why!

Maybe black Kats are bad luck, at least for older brothers.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

11/2/08 Shopping

Thanks to our suddenly seasonal weather, Gabriel put on long pants for the first time in months. Did I say long? Talk about highwaters! And as usual, they still just barely stick to his skinny rear end. Many of them are wearing out at the knees, too.

This is the part of the year I dread the most -- scouring the earth for pants long enough and slim enough for Gabriel. This world opens up a lot when the kid can operate a snap and a fly. So I took Gabriel (and Julian tagged along) to Kohl's in the hopes of finding something that would work.

First, lunch for the bunch.

I've just learned that books, especially unfamiliar ones, are a great way to keep the boys under control in the car, and when we're out places. They're both really good anyway, but if there's any opportunity for antsy, bringing books is a huge help. They were both so engrossed it was all I could do to get them to look up walking into the store.

After much trial and error, and one complaint to the manager that many Lee jeans' snaps are hard for me to operate, let alone a 6-year-old who waits for hours until it's a true emergency, we came away with 7 pairs of size 5-slim jeans that will probably work. Julian sat and read patiently while Gabriel tried on at least 10 pairs of jeans -- every size 5S there was, and a few 6Ss just to verify that they're still far too big, and long.

Then we shopped briefly in the toddler girls' section, as Katrina really needs long-sleeved shirts. Leave it to the boys to turn "2T" into "tooty" and "4T" into "farty"! They had a lot more fun picking cute shirts for her than jeans for Gabriel. They sure have oversweet syrupy-cutesy tastes though.

Speaking of oversweet, the boys haven't said "boo" about Halloween candy since the big night. Not one word. And their candy bags are in plain sight, too.

Halloween night, I let them each pick 5 pieces of candy from their bags, and they had to sit at the dining table to eat it. And that was still too much -- Julian didn't finish his Raisinets, and both were complaining of tummyaches and lay down on their beds for a while afterwards. Even still, aren't normal kids supposed to gobble it all down and throw a huge fit if they can't and beg for more the next morning? Well, if Katrina is anything like me, she won't take her eyes off the loot for a second!

Maybe Gabriel needs more candy to fill out his Slim jeans!