Saturday, February 21, 2009

2/21/09 Seasonal Items

In order to pass final inspection, there are some common -- you'd think -- items that need to be in place, including a fireplace screen. No big, just pop on down to the local big-box and pick one up, right?

Wrong. Fireplace screens are apparently "seasonal items," and those sections are now being populated by patio furniture and grills. Lowe's, Home Depot and OSH -- nada. Fooey. So much for trying to support local brick-and-mortar -- it's the mouse for me now.

At least Katrina got to ride in the "Blue Car!" at Lowe's and the "Orange Car!" at Home Depot.


Friday, February 20, 2009

2/20/09 The door to home

Our doors are in place. Our new front door:

Our new side door, this time, hinged properly:

It's bittersweet; at this point I'm so frazzled by the normal problems that it's hard to get excited about anything. I can't take the swings. I'm better off just being constantly irritated; the slide down is too hard.

I spent the day with Gabriel, since the CDC activities looked boring today and I figured as long as I wasn't working, I'd enjoy the day with him. I doubt he enjoyed it much with me, as the first half of it was spent zooming around doing remodeling errands. That included over an hour at the house...I mean, jobsite, with him checking out closets and hopping around and being silly. It was nice seeing him in the house actually, it makes it so much more real.

(It's tempting to think we're doing this for them, but that's not true, they just want a place to play. But I care that when they're older, our house will be a place they'll want to hang out with their friends, with plenty of spaces, and of course, a welcoming mother who finds the perfect balance between being a Cool Mom, but gives them their space. My, I dream large!)

We gave 30-day notice at our rental today....I haven't set a date with the movers yet, but we're looking at March 17. yeah, yay, whatever.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

2/19/09 Rattled

Intensely stressful day. Wrote lightly about it on my remodeling blog. I even missed Coffee Night with my mom friends, knowing I'd be poor company. Problem solved, but I'm getting very very tired of these things coming up every day.

Good yoga class at the Y tonight though... the intent was to improve my psyche, but it turned out to the best thing yet for my creaky, marginal back.

A few photos of kids as we returned from the grand pickups today.

Katrina attempting to avoid the camera. What's up with that?!

They make a lot of sounds. The contrast tonight between Gabriel (who's singing "The Entertainer") and Katrina (who's having a typical meltdown until she gets her Mimi) is remarkable.

(Note that the way this bathroom is set up, it's very easy to whack someone who just got out of the bath with the door, hence Dave's admonishment to close the door, aimed towards rambunctious brothers.)


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

2/18/09 The Natural Order

I mentioned to Dave yesterday that I had to pull over on a fairly busy street in rush hour to switch the boys in the back of the car, since Katrina was screaming constantly from Julian bugging her. "Are you crazy?!" he said, "You let Julian ride next to Katrina?!"

Not today. Despite protests from Julian (as the middle seat is hotly contested), I insisted he ride on the side, and Gabriel climb over him to sit in the middle. Ahhh.. The contrast in peace reminds me of the zen state that motorcycle riders enter when hatches are battened down for a nice long ride -- earplugs in, sunglasses on, visor down, leathers all zipped up, full tank of gas, and it's just you and the sound of your engine and the wind to focus you on the scenery and the feel of the road, with your thoughts flowing and mind alive.

OK, OK, driving around with three children is still not exactly meditative, but the contrast was remarkable. What's that I hear? Oh! It's myself thinking!

Our little middleborn has been sort of a pain lately. Whiny, complaining, irritating. It's different than the family-freezing impasses that his siblings bring on; Julian isn't cut from the same cloth that Gabriel and Katrina are. In fact, I'll go on a small limb here and say that he's the most different one in the family -- a good thing, but it means that understanding him doesn't come as easily to us.

With Julian, when he's been acting out for a while, I do start to wonder if there's something in his life that's weighing on him. He says he doesn't like school, but he's never unhappy when I pick him up, he has lots of friends, doesn't get into trouble -- no low-hanging fruit there. It twangs my guilt strings ...maybe he needs more home time. Or more one-on-one Mom time.

I put off my endless evening tasks tonight when I found him playing with a marble game in his room, and sat with him and joined him. He wanted to build the marble ramps himself, but he was clearly glad I was there, so I just asked him questions and let him lead it. It was a nice time together, though I was aware it was on my terms and not his, and that's still not exactly what he needed. I wish we had more time together so that he can pick and choose our moments as he likes.

It strikes me again that in so many ways, they need me more now than they did as babies and toddlers. When they're all in school, I really hope I don't have to work. Babies need someone, but a 5-year-old really needs his mother. And father. Not so much his brother. And his sister definitely could do without him sometimes!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

2/17/09 The Near Miss

Tonight I went to the jobsite house to check out the progress on the family room fireplace tile, since Dave thought there was a chance it was on its way toward being installed wrong. On the way there, I braced myself for another potential problem -- how will I handle this? I'm very, very weary of having to "get over" things. So many things aren't quite right, but are so permanent. At this point, I'm now doubting some very basic decisions we made over a year ago. Time, living in another house, and drastically different economic conditions have really changed my perspective.

I stepped onto the porch to look for packages -- and our feeble overhead porch light went on automatically. It never used to do that, but we had to attach it to a motion sensor to meet code, one of countless changes and expenses we've had no choice on. As a porch light, it was never enough, but as an automatic light to guide you up the steps, I found it welcoming, gentle, and perfect. We should have had something like this years ago.

Finally, a really nice surprise. And better yet, the family room fireplace tile was perfect too.


Monday, February 16, 2009

2/16/09 The Holiday

President's Day! Dave's company, Gabriel's school and daycare, and Julian's preschool, were all closed! I went to work, Katrina went to Tonya's, and it was up to the boys to fend for themselves today.

Being a shameless opportunist, I sent Dave on my daily remodeling errands....drop off stain samples, pick up a few overlooked plumbing items, deal with an underestimated amount of flooring material, the usual. So I got to go to work, and come home from work, directly -- no extra trips. this what it's like to be a grownup and a homeowner living at home?

Then again, usually my remodeling errands are done sans little boys. I talked to Dave briefly while he was at the plumbing store (yes, satin nickel please), and in the few seconds we spoke, I could hear Julian tattling in the background: "Gabriel touched my butt!" Dave said later that was preferable to his follow-up announcement to the whole (small) store: "GABRIEL SAID P-NIS!!" Ah, such open-minded observant children we're raising.

I was truly glad to see my little brood tonight, though very sorry I had to spend so much of my time dealing with dinner, cleanup, lunches, laundry, gathering things for tomorrow. And in the background weighs on me constantly: remodeling stuff as always, and now, taxes. I must get all taxes done before we move, or it'll turn into a major scramble with all our things in boxes right around deadline time. "All" means our personal taxes, my Dad's, and my corporation's, which has a dealine of March 15. This new world of corporate tax filing makes our personal taxes seem like a piece of cake!

But I did enjoy watching them all play together tonight. I continue to marvel at how different Katrina's 2-year-old life is than Gabriel's was. At her age, most of his play at home was done quietly on his own, though he was curious about his infant brother. Nothing quiet about Katrina's 2-year-old life, surrounded by two rambunctious brothers. That has to have an effect. Good or bad, we'll see.

Short, cute ending. Notice how Katrina yells at Gabriel when she feels threatened by his waving feet.

Longer, more of the same. Notice how Julian kisses her hand in the beginning. Another cute ending, when she wants to show me her Kitty-Kat.

Much of this silliness was for her benefit. Indeed, her life is ruled by having two older brothers, but she has a powerful effect on the dynamic too. Unwittingly, she takes pressure off the brothers' relationship, since Julian often wants to play when Gabriel wants to be left alone (age, personality). Katrina fills that gap -- often against her will!

Unfortunately, after another 40 minutes, Gabriel was still completely into his siren-sounds and mussing people's heads and was getting completely out of control, knocking things down and being incredibly annoying. Childhood play is one thing, but I'd had enough. I even spent 5 minutes standing outside in the cold and rain with him, pretending to show him something outside, just to try to break him out of it. No good. Finally an insisted-upon shower broke him out of it, but I had to brace myself for a major battle. That was OK. I had the energy for it, because I'd had a holiday. I think that was a good thing....


Sunday, February 15, 2009

2/15/09 A touch of Portland

This doesn't happen often around here -- it rained all day!

I look Katrina and Julian to the Y today, thinking that maybe the late-morning Zumba class wouldn't be so crowded on a rainy day. Instead, the teacher announced that she counted 98 -- yes, ninety-eight -- people in the class. It's so popular that they've long since abandoned the number system and instead moved it to a much larger room. I just had to get there a few minutes early to get a primo spot up front, something years of dance classes taught me to do. I'm short and slow to catch on to choreography -- I need a great view of the teacher. A great way to spend a rainy morning! (Negotiating semi-flooded parking lots with a toddler who insists on walking, then refuses to walk in the direction needed, and hence has to be carried...not so much.)

Katrina's handed-down rain jacket is too small, the hood won't stay on. So she got an upgraded hand-me-down today. It's a little big, but sooooo cute! And she actually wore the hood. She really really wanted to play outside!

I had an odd pang today, when my brother gave me an update on the work he and my sister and brother-in-law are doing on my Dad's house. I want to do that too! What?! you might think. Why would I want to do home projects after all we've been through! Well, because, it's my home then. No one shakes their head and tells me you can't do that, or you shouldn't do that, or barrages me with a list of reasons why they don't think it's the right thing to do. I like doing home projects. I might like them even more now that I won't have to do them.

Oh yeah, except that pesky landscaping thing....urgh. With all this rain, it's going to be as green as Portland pretty soon, but in a few months it'll turn California brown.