Ahhh the joys of doing it yourself

To save a few measly bucks we decided to rip up the tile in our kitchen before the hardwood goes down next week. I would love for one home improvement project to go as expected. We always get some lovely surprise once we’ve gotten into the work. (like digging up a front concrete walk, only to find a second concrete walk directly underneath the first) This time the surprise was ripping up the tile, ripping up the linoleum underneath to the sub flooring only to find…another layer of linoleum and the original sub floor. Yes, all these layers of flooring.

PLUS, they ran the water line for the ice maker right through the flooring, so we’ll need to turn the water off to the ice maker to remove the water line laying in the floor, except the valve to turn the water is so tight it will not budge, even after soaking it with WD-40. Who are these people that do this half ass work? Their punishment should be to spend all of eternity redoing shoddy home improvement projects. It would have cost us $300 for the flooring people to rip up the tile to get to the sub floor. What we saved in labor, we have probably spent in aggravation. Not to mention the growing pile of scrap growing out back. Is it too early to start drinking?

One question

At what point in their lives do males learn to get out of the shower and shake everything they’ve got in your direction, thinking it’s the funniest thing ever? I will let you decide whether I am talking about the 4 year old or almost 40 year old in my house. It would never occur to me to do this, yet from discussions I have had with other women, I am not the only one experiencing this post shower show. Seriously, it’s not a pretty sight.

Working and Raising Kids…One Last Nerve at a Time

It’s one of those mornings. Why have an alarm clock when there are children in the house? My six month old decided that 5:30am is the perfect wake up call; he’s raring to go so why aren’t I? Of course him being up this early throws my entire morning routine off. I normally try to be up, dressed and ready to go before my kids. Most of the time this works, not so much today. Coupled with the fact that I dared to take a vacation day yesterday to stretch out the holiday weekend, I am dreading opening my work e-mail. In fact I look at it through my fingers, like you do when watching a horror movie. By 7am, the baby had a melt down, I had a melt down (with crying) and my husband was eying the front door, planning his escape. How sad when he’d prefer to battle traffic in the rain then stay around a few more minutes and watch me dissolve into a puddle on the floor.

Oh yeah and we’re out of milk and diapers. No doubt my preschooler will wake and demand milk with his cereal. (He’s so unreasonable) Husband volunteers to run out, only to find the grocery store at the end of our street without power, so he has to try another. Are you kidding me?

I get into the shower since my day is packed with client meetings and washed hair is appropriate and I pull the baby in there too to sit in his bouncy seat. Nothing kills a relaxing shower like peeking out of the shower doors to sing a few verses of Wheels on the Bus so that the baby won’t cry. God forbid a I should get five seconds to shave my legs in peace. By the time I have made myself presentable (the bags under my eyes are a fact of life that I am slowly accepting) #1 son is up, and thankfully dressed. But the demands begin. “Mom I want milk,” “mom I want breakfast,” “mom, mom, mom…” By now I am ready to pull my hair out and run screaming from the house. I am so exhausted I feel hungover, without the alcohol to prove it.

As I go to load the morning dishes in the dishwasher I discover it was run last night, oh JOY how I love emptying the dishwasher, it seems like that is all I ever do. Oh yeah and wipe butts. In my childhood fantasies of being a grown up, these mundane tasks never factored into my dreams. The morning is capped off by me spilling thawed breast milk onto the counter. I let out a string of expletives (I know I shouldn’t curse in front of the kids, but this warrants it) clean up the mess and start gulping my 2nd mug of coffee. I don’t think it’s going to help today. And now I feel badly because I told my four year to get away from my toast, can I not have one thing to myself around here? I guarantee that if I made him his own, he’s look at it with disgust and refuse to eat it. And he already ate breakfast. When I am tired and hungry, my maturity level is that of a 2 year old. So there.

The Four Year Old Play Date

My preschooler had a friend over today. Before he arrived to play, we reviewed all of the play date rules that we have in this house. (The rules also apply to birthday parties):

-No hitting

-No kicking

-No pushing

-No screaming like a little girl. ( I honestly think my husband much prefers our son to hit other kids than to hear the high pitched screech he often makes when playing with friends)

-No tattling

(For other information on play dates, check out this book by Christie S Mellor, Three Martini Playdates)

For the most part, #1 son has no problem following the list, with the exception of no tattling. Four year olds LOVE to tattle on one another, then go back to playing. If my friends or coworkers tattled on me regularly and then expected life to go on as usual, they would be sorely mistaken and be in a line for a solid crotch punch (which I know violates other rules in our above list) But four year olds get a perverse pleasure in telling on one another, and if it gets their little friend in trouble (the Holy Grail is getting the friend in a time out), it’s even better.

When my girlfriend left with her little boy today we remarked that today was the most successful play date so far, only 2 issues of tattling, one by each boy. What caused today’s infractions? The non-sharing of a Wolverine costume and the use of a Mr. Potato Head body part as a weapon.

The Most Annoying Member of our Family

Normally the most annoying person in a family is someone who is incredibly intrusive, the holiday dinner drunk or the relative with so much drama in their life that they belong on Jerry Springer. The most annoying person in our family does none of these things but is old and high maintenance and just always has something wrong. It’s our house, or Stupid House as it commonly called. (actually we don’t use the word “stupid” but I am keeping it G-rated) Stupid House (SH) joined our family three years ago and if SH were a person it would visit the ER about every 6 months and have elective cosmetic surgery yearly. SH was a “deal” as far as deals went back in 2005, the height of the housing frenzy. It appraised for much more than we paid, and we knew there was a laundry list of items that would need to done down the line. The house had goods bones, but every other body system was in dire need of an overhaul.
Before we even moved in we had 2 floors re-carpeted and the whole house painted. The ding dongs who lived here before us thought that “flesh” was a wonderful paint color and that pulling the furniture out to paint was too much work, when you can always paint around everything. Yes, we knew where their entertainment center had been located, how they laid out the furniture in their bedrooms, and how big the artwork on the walls was. And the house was completely empty when we looked at it. That was just the beginning. Following is additional sampling of our undertaking. We have replaced:

1. The original AC (circa 1972) that did nothing in August as temps reached into the 90s

2. The furnace that died on the coldest day in January 2007, landing the entire family in the same bed with a down comforter for warmth, because of course the furnace died after business hours.

3. The hot water heater that bit the big one late one Sunday night, which led to a Monday morning of miserable showering, like Mondays don’t suck enough.

4. The wood siding that had pockets of rot and was the color of newborn poop.

5. The drafty windows that were as useful as a sheet of Saran Wrap.

6. Landscaping because a pipe blew (again, on a weekend) and it was located under the front sidewalk, which had to be dug up (I think my husband just wanted to rent a jackhammer), which in turn ruined any landscaping there was.

And now (dun, dun ,dun) we’re getting ready to put in hardwood on our middle floor, the neglected step child of our house. It has taken this long to decide on all hardwood, vs. a tile/hardwood combo. Why do we need to do this latest cosmetic procedure? Because there is original carpeting (it’s gross) and someone named Darwin laid ceramic tile right of top of linoleum in the kitchen, which has cracked in various places and on humid days pulls up on bare feet. With an almost crawling infant in the house, it’s a recipe for disaster.

The measuring gets done tomorrow and we’ll go from there. These have not been small dollar makeovers and even though they are necessary, writing checks with lots of zeros makes me physically ill. I usually end up stressed and stomp around for a few days screaming at the house and threatening to move. To where, I have no clue. My husband reminds me that brand new houses have their share of issues also, but it’s like comparing the issues between old and new to a sweet newborn and a nasty old aunt. You have to wipe both of their butts, but you don’t mind nearly as much with the newborn.

What’s in a Name?

Last year we adopted a kitten. It was bittersweet time, as we had put our beloved Gretzky down after a terminal illness that was a horrific time for our entire family. We still had one cat in the house, Hunter, and since Hunter is a girl we thought a girl kitten would be best.

The kitten was also supposed to be a girl cat to counterbalance all of the testosterone in our house ( I was pregnant with 2nd child and 2nd boy, then there’s my husband). Dear Husband went on his lunch break to the shelter and found the perfect sweet girl kitten. Number one son and I met my husband at the shelter and agreed that Pat (this was the name assigned by the shelter) was the kitten for us, she had been spayed already and was ready to go home. Three girls and three boys for our house. We renamed Pat Sasha (die hard hockey fans will notice the theme) but probably should have just left it alone.

At the first vet appointment, after a quick check, our vet asked me if I was sure Sasha was a girl. I told him yes, based on what the shelter told us, not based on any medical fact. A grinning vet informed that he thought Sasha was actually a boy and took him to the back to double check with another vet. The next sound heard was a lot of laughter from the vets, at the crazy pregnant lady up front who thought she adopted a girl cat. Apparently determining the sex of kittens is difficult work and poor Sasha was mis-classed. Who knew? Luckily for us, Sasha can be a boy or girl name, so the poor cat didn’t have to suffer through a name change along with a sex change. But we could have just stuck with Pat and been fine.

So now I am outnumbered in the house and Sasha acts just like a little boy should, he’s loud (for a cat), runs around like a lunatic and constantly picks on his older sister Hunter- he fits right in.

Bob- A Love Story

I had heard about Bob for a few years and I had even gotten a glimpse of Bob from time to time. Friends crowed that Bob was the best ever, and Bob was no cheap date. I was skeptical, I had seen others like Bob before and had not been overly impressed. Then a few weeks ago after getting a bonus at work, I decided that I too had to have Bob in my life and I didn’t care at what price. I had no idea what I was getting into, which is incredibly unusual for my Type A, Consumer Reports loving self. I research everything before making a commitment and maybe that takes the fun out of things, but it usually makes me happy and smug.

This time was a completely different story. Before I knew what I was doing I was accessing Bob online and scheduled to meet Bob in one week. The day of our initial meeting I was like a kid in a candy store, giddy with anticipation. I saw Bob as soon as I walked in and skipped (Ok not really) over to meet Bob. Then I handed over my paperwork. You see Bob is not a new lover, Bob is a stroller; an incredible, orange jogging stroller to be exact. It’s a Bob Revolution and I love it like I have never loved a stroller before. (and I have a lot of practice in the stroller world, much to my husband’s chagrin) I’m lame, I used to get excited about new movies or restaurants, now it’s a three wheeled transporter of children that makes my heart aflutter. It rides so smoothly, rolls over bumps and curbs like a shark fin cutting through water, and has a cool parking brake.

I bought a cheapo jogger years ago with #1 son and it was a pile of crap. I didn’t get any happiness out of using it. Until I decide what to do with that original jogger it sits by itself in the garage. (I think it might be crying inside.) Bob was a total impulse buy for me, something I never do, but I just couldn’t help myself in this instance and now I am tempted to stand outside the baby superstores on weekends to spread the word. Bob doesn’t need my help, but I want to lend my support to Bob. I went with the orange to pay homage to my beloved alma mater, UVa.

I admit to having some stroller envy in the past. You know those gleaming, funky, brightly colored strollers driven by smiling parents that make you drool a little. I often saw those strollers and while I wouldn’t have minded having one, I wasn’t running out to buy one. For whatever reason, Bob is different and even though purchases such as this often give me buyers remorse, I don’t have it this time. I walk by Bob, sitting there all regal in my garage and I have to stifle a little grin, every time. It’s an incredibly mature reaction.

The worst part is that I am not a runner, even when I am actually running, I am not a runner. My husband likens my running to a cartoon character running in place. So maybe Bob won’t be put through all of his paces with me as an owner, but I do walk for exercise and Bob is a great addition to that. Who knows, when the kids are done with Bob, maybe we’ll have to get a small dog to wheel around.

In the beginning

I’ve considered writing a blog for a while now, but couldn’t decide what to write, what to call the blog, or figure out when I would even have time to write anything. From about 6:30am until 8pm at night it’s go, go, go in this house. By the time the magical hour of 8pm rolls around, I am ready to plop on the sofa, watch some TV and drool. Yes, I have kids. What else would make me a drooling exhausted mess at such an early evening hour? I also work full time and then there’s that other being in the house who demands attention (no, not laundry) – my husband. For some reason he still likes to hang out with me and thinks I am enjoyable company. Me, the woman with unrecognizable goo on my shirt, hair all askew, and a blank stare. Yes, I am a real catch these days.

Anyway, I finally got my act together and came up with a name. That was a huge challenge, I didn’t want it to be too cutesy (“blogging from mommyhood”- barf) or use my name in the title. So here it is, Bloggin on Empty. I can’t say I’ll do it everyday, but I’ll try. My main reasoning is to have some kind of record of my life now, so in ten years I can look back and see how it was in reality, not some rose colored version of life filled with sunshine and rainbows. I am sure in the future I won’t recall the mornings where no one wants to get dressed for school and I lose my mind, complete with spinning head and sounds coming from my mouth that belong in the animal kingdom. No, I am sure I will recall the sweet smile of my four year old as he skips off to his classroom and tells me how much he loves me vs. the time I chased him around his classroom with him yelling/crying at me that he didn’t want to go home with me. That was charming.

I hope to eventually include some things that make my life easier or items I am in love with at a particular time. But for the first day, this will work just fine.