Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Kill The Cat!

So this weekend I finished painting my office/guest room; 2 coats all by myself, thank you very much! Now to paint the family room and foyer and I’m planning to go tape them off after work throughout the rest of this week and get samples on the walls so we can start painting soon before that new carpet goes in. We still have to put the carpet down in Daughter's room and now it's even more pressing because she and Son were playing in there and he tripped over a closed can of paint (or so I thought) and out it poured all over that old carpet. A big blue spot that looks like the Cat in the Hat paid a visit and melted there. Thank God it was the old carpet, not that paint would have been in there if the new stuff was down.

We had the family room carpet pulled up too to give the room a chance to air out. But we can still smell that stupid cat the former owner had! So since we’re not pulling up the foyer carpet until we’re ready to replace it with flooring, we need to steam clean it to hopefully get the final cat smell out of the house.

I did do about 4 trips back and forth on Saturday and another 4 on Sunday moving stuff out of my mother-in-law’s basement to my house, sorting through packed away toys, lining the cabinets and drawers, washing loads of dishes that haven’t seen the light of day in 2 years and doing loads of clothes at my house AND hers all while making a run to the dump and to Goodwill to get rid of more stuff. I worked from about 8 to 8 both days WITH the kids in tow and I went to work this past snowy Monday very tired but happy to have done that much!

So, any suggestions on how to kill the cat smell? Yuck! So far we're planning to steam clean (with 2 messy kids, we own our own) and someone also suggested I bomb the house. All suggestions welcome!

Friday, February 23, 2007


OK, I'm trolling around looking at other mommies' blogs and I have decided to confess something. I'm still working it out trying to figure out what it says about me but I'm going to say it anyway because I feel like it.

When I had my Son, my first born, I was just flabbergasted by how much he stole my heart. I couldn't believe it. I never wanted kids, but had resigned myself to the fact that it would be unlikely I'd meet someone who didn't want them. And then as I got older, I thought MAYBE I'd be cool with it but the thought of having them - physically having them - was still more than I wanted to think about. I'd just have to deal with it if the time ever came.

Well it came out of the blue and who wasn't overjoyed that after 28 painful hours, I had to have a C-section because the kid wouldn't drop. "Fine by me! Let's get this done!"

I saw that round face and those big eyes and all the years of looking at other people's brats thinking it's not for me meant nothing. THIS one was so perfect, so mine. Now I knew why people did this more than once.

He was my shadow and when I was pregnant with Perfection #2, I distinctly remember lying on the sofa, feeling listless and huge while Son laid on my stomach - yes, my stomach 1st time mommies to be. Directly on top is too much but a little off to the side. It won't hurt the little one inside. - and looking at that little head who was talking about things that fascinate 3-year-olds and telling him not to worry. A new baby will NOT change my love for him. Things will be different but he'll always be my first and have his own special spot in my life just like the next one will always by my 2nd and have her own special place. Equal love for two very different people.

I meant that. I knew it was possible to grow your love but who knew what the reality of it would be.

Well, Son is 6 now. He'll be 7 next month and you know what? He is so silly! Super silly, this kid is. I can laugh about some of it when I'm not in his presence but so many times - here's the confession - it BUGS me! My word. I can't even tell you some of the things he says because they are so whacky as he cracks himself up. I shake my head and just watch him on the sly because if I engage it too directly, he takes it as me saying, "Please Son! More, more off-the-wall nutty comments! I LOVE it!"

I don't! I don't love it! How horrible am I? Mind you, I know that I'm not that bad. I think about this little boy when he's not around and I wish he were there right then and there so I could just kiss him, you know? I tell some of my friends about the weirdness and the drama - he cries at the drop of a hat over the smallest things - and they just shake their heads knowingly. So this is normal, I gather. But man, it B-U-G-S me! This is the Monica who was glad to be childless when she saw the kids acting out in the street. Now mine have never done that, thank God. They generally listen. I am just having such a hard time doing what I want to do with Son - stay affectionate DESPITE the insanity.

Lest you think the boy is a mental case, truly he's just a really happy child who loves to laugh and for some reason, despite me, he keeps writing me love notes and drawing me pictures and telling me he wants to be with me forever. I feel so undeserving of that, actually. Every night, "Hug and kiss," he tells me. I started that when he was tiny so I can't say anything about it as he comes to me with his funny-toothed grin waiting for his bedtime ritual.

Who can't love this face?

But you know what? I really do find that I must work to keep myself - how do you say? - steady. Trying not to show too much annoyance with it. Last thing I want him to do is hide those feelings and become unreachable because I'm not as responsive as he'd like. Of all the things in my family life that I'd like to fix, this is the one that bothers me the most. So, I'll just keep that baby face in my head and grin and bear it. All that love of his will make some woman a great husband one day.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Slowly But Surely

Well, I've been painting my office after work this week. It is WORK! It is hard WORK! Can you tell I've never painted a wall in my life? Well, I put down the tape and tried to protect all the surfaces. I got out the paintbrush and painted around the window. I poured the lovely Orange Blossom, got out the roller and went for it! Oh the stretching! Good thing I'm tall, that's all I know. It helps.

So it took a while at first but I'm getting the hang of it. I did 2 walls the first night. I started about 7ish and wanted to leave before 9 but it was about 5 after 9 when I finished cleaning out the brushes as I stretched my back. It took forever to get that paint out of the roller, though. Last night I did the other 2 walls. I started at 7 and was done about 8:30. Getting better. Now I have to do a second coat and I'm still trying to figure out the best way to apply it to get those corners and such.

In the meanwhile, the carpet finally made it into Son's room and our room. Looks OK. Empty rooms you don't mind taking your shoes off in. The carpet guy is going to pull up the family room carpet next to help air out that funky cat smell but I'm not sure how long before we carpet that one and Daughter's room. With the $4,000 tax bill we just got hit with - you read it right - I don't know what will happen. First I have to go argue with the tax preparer because I just don't see how it got to be that high with me declaring 0 and Mr. T declaring 0, though he's NOT declaring 0 on his second job. Hopefully, there is a screwup somewhere because I was looking around next for the desk to put in my office. I'm going to be none too pleased if I have to wait to get my desk because we have to take care of this looming, unexpected debt first.

But I digress. When my new blog template is in place (it is AWESOME! Thanks Liz!), I promise to start pulling out the digital camera to take some better photos for you all. These I took using my cell phone and it would probably be OK if the rooms weren't so darn dark right now with the poor lighting. But hey, this weekend will be all about putting on that 2nd coat of paint and hopefully moving over some kitchen stuff too.

We're getting there - slowly but surely!

This is Son's room with a dark grey carpet. We're thinking he will repaint one day so the grey is neutral and should work with anything. Can you see the rocket on the wall? I did that! 4 times! So he's got the stars and moons and suns above and rockets floating in the middle. The lights I bought are in the closet right now but with the carpet down I can at least put them together and see how they light. Too soon to hang them. Need furniture placed first.

Now this is my room. Also a little hard to see with the poor light. Mr. T. picked out the carpet - Dark Earth - and it it is dark but plush too. Green walls, antique white trim. I just have to find some different plates for the outlets and lightswitch because the white ones are too stark and boring. Still not sure what to paint out bathroom and I have to figure out what the exact color scheme will be but green is actually a pretty versatile color so we'll see.

This is my office/guest room as I started painting. You can see the orange as it creeps over the white walls. I decided suddenly to do a really non-involved stencil of puzzle pieces to inspire me as I do business stuff in there. So I cut out painter's tape in puzzle piece shapes and just placed 4 on the wall, one overlapping the other wall and they just flow down. It will hopefully be a little surprise - a pleasant one - when you enter the room. "Orange wall, orange wall, hey! Puzzle pieces! Cool!"

This is the office/guestroom after I painted that same wall. See how the puzzle pieces are covered up? Floating beneath the surface of their ocean of orange paint. I'm so tempted to pull up the tape because I'm dying to see how it turned out but I can't until the second coat goes on. The room is so much warmer now. As much as I hate the painting, it really is a sense of accomplishment. I'm actually looking forward to getting the family room and foyer done.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Are We There Yet?

In a word? No.

But all the painting is done upstairs and carpet is going in Son's and our bedrooms today. Not sure how long it will be to do Daughter's and the family room but hopefully not too long. "We can probably start moving clothes over after the carpet goes in," Mr. T. tells me last night. "Way ahead of you, honey!"

The only reason the kitchen stuff isn't there is because of the paint disaster in the kitchen that I wanted to clean up first. It was paint central all this time and my sink and counters were scary. So I'll go back there tonight and clean around the stove where DH pulled it out to paint and found a mess, as anyone would if you pulled your stove out of it's niche.

"Do you like the color?" he asked.
"You mean the non-color in the kitchen? It's lovely."

Really. Off-white - OK, I think it's really closer to eggshell or some silly whitish name like that - is NOT a color but it's a kitchen and I don't mind the light walls. After all, I had him paint Son's room the lovely blue and purple (per Son's request) and Daughter's the ever bright yellow and dark lavender and I let him choose the color for our room because I wasn't sure what I wanted so he picked a green that I can live with. Plus my office is going to be Orange Blossom, which means orange just as you think, and that made him cringe but I don't care. It'll be hot. Plus, the foyer and living room will probably be either Cafe Royal or Roxbury Caramel (shades of rich brown) so what's one little whitish kitchen (and living room and kid's bathroom and maybe our bathroom too) in the midst of all that sweet color?

I think Mr. T is tired of painting and I don't blame him. I'm doing my office myself so I can get it done and move some stuff there too.
"It's expensive!" he complained.
"Hey! We're changing carpet and painting walls. That all we NEED to do. We have a new house. Don't need reno so painting, no matter how expensive the cans, will always be the cheapest thing we can do. When we're done, we're done," I assured him.
He simply nodded and looked up at the very high ceiling above the stairs that lead upstairs.
"I don't know," I responded, reading his mind. "Let's not think about it. Let's just do what we can and get the heck out of your mother's house!"

So, we're going to leave the darn brown carpet on the stairs and in the foyer for now. It's not horrible. We want flooring in the foyer so we'll do it when we can. We'll clean the carpet in the living room too since it's not horrible either but knowing me, I'll find a rug somewhere at some point to help usher in color since we aren't painting there. But the rest is pretty much done and I am going to start moving stuff this week.

Now the challenge is to do it on the downlow so MIL can't see it. I know it's mean but I want to worry her. I want her to think we'll never leave. See, I've heard her say to my BIL, "I don't know when they're leaving. They're not even packing. I think they're comfortable." And that shows you how in tune she is to people. If she wants to know, ASK! But she doesn't, she talks about it to others instead of going to the source and that's not surprising. She always has. So instead of saying anything I want her to suddenly look up and go, "Hey! Where's all your stuff?" Really, lady. Do I strike you as someone who wants to live with you FOREVER? Please don't flatter yourself! There is nothing like your own space.

I just can't wait. Pictures to come.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Flowers, romance, candy, jewelry. It's all so romantic.

I overheard a co-worker yesterday talking about how she hated the holiday. Nevermind the fact that this particular co-worker seems to hate every holiday - Christmas, Halloween, whatever may make people smile. She's a professed disliker of people. OK, "disliker" isn't a word but I'm being kind here.

Now said co-worker also, coincidentally, has a new boyfriend and she's giddy. I don't think she realizes it. I think she thinks she's being coy, cute, a little flippant about it as if any of this was an attractive quality in a person when one acts this way ALL the time. Another co-worker and I have decided she can in fact be put in a box (as in given definition) but we've given her airholes and for every silly, annoying, pointless comment, we plug a hole. She hasn't many left.

Anyhow, I don't begrudge anyone their giddiness. Every romance should be filled with it. My friends at the place where I met my husband told me - years later - that I had stars in my eyes for about the first two years of the 7 years we were together before we married. I don't recall it lasting that long but I can take their word for it.

It was fun. The anticipation, the guessing games, the fights and wondering if we'd get back together again. (We did that particular one 3 times with 5 months between each time and he came a calling every time.) There was that first 2-week vacation we took together where we traveled up and down the East Coast, visiting my family, my friends and his family in Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina. He was a jerk that whole first week because of sex. I wasn't offering any. That's right. I was still a virgin by choice, thank you very much, and giddiness did not equal a lobotomy. He almost got fired.

We visited my grandmother in Georgia. By then my grandfather had passed away. In the quietness of the country Georgia home, as my grandmother did nothing but be herself, Mr. T. settled down. We had another week of vacation left and I wasn't sure I was going to make it because I was just about to hate him. But here he was able to appreciate my home the way I did and I don't know if he realized it but I'll bet the calming ways of my grandmother overtook him too. She told me when we were alone that she liked him. That spoke volumes for him. Friends had already said the same, not knowing the octopus I was dealing with alone. But I knew what they were seeing because I saw it myself. But my grandmother knew me better than anyone else in the world. And she was honest, though not brutally. You asked, she'd be straight. I miss her.

Mr. T. and I continued on to Florida to visit my college professor aunt where he got another good report and had started to show me the softer side of him. We drove down the coast all fired up, after only a few months of dating. We came back up relaxed and familiar and I distinctly remember looking over at him as we drove in his gold Acura and thinking I can marry this man. No time soon, of course. Too much to figure out. But somewhere in there was a diamond worth cultivating.

Thirteen years later, after 5 years of marriage and 2 kids, the giddiness isn't there daily anymore. But then there are times like this past week when I was very sick. I guess I got whatever Daughter had 2 weeks prior. Mr. T., despite his back, did my job as the day-job parent. He got the kids dressed, cooked for them, got their lunches for school, washed their clothes, grocery shopped, fixed the stupid vacuum so it could REALLY work and cleaned the house, made my soup and tea (though I did have to ask him to. ;-D) and then he did the stuff he usually does as the night-job parent. Pick the kids up, get them dinner, take Son to karate and the barbershop, take Daughter to the doctor and somewhere in there finally got the carpet selected for our house so we can get this done and move in. He did it all making the silly noises he always makes to announce his arrival, laughing at nothing as he walked the house doing chores, fussing at the kids to clean up, laughing some more with his sisters who come over. I really did marry a big kid. He lays on the bed making faces at me because I am sick and I didn't brush my teeth that day. This is the stuff that still makes me giddy. The reality of life. The consistency of someone who sees you at your worse and smiles through the yucky face he makes as you tell him about your recent nose-blowing escapade. The reliance of someone who gets up and gets going and doesn't stop first to ask, "Are you going to take care of the kids today?" The security of a relationship where no one is trying to change anyone, even though we can get on each other's nerves just being ourselves. The nonstop surprise of a man of few words who shows me all the time that he hears every word I say as little things pop up that I may have mentioned so long ago that I forgot about it. The trust of knowing he listens.

Those beginning stages of romance are defining moments oftentimes. You find it hard to breathe or think straight or talk like you are educated. But give me the familiar. The foundation is poured, the house is built and pretty much it's all about making it a home. There is peace in that house and no one is thinking, "Will they call? What will I wear? I can't eat that in front of them!"

I hope said co-worker gets inundated with flowers and candy and cards on this day she hates so much. I know. There is something mean about that, huh? I just want to see it! But something tells me she masking something anyway. I, for one, am quite happy to have found a true diamond, despite his flaws. Those just make him distinguishable from the rest. I don't need Valentine's Day but it's still nice to have a day where the world is reminded to stop a moment and just appreciate that other person. No, we don't have to spend money. We do what we can when we can because we choose to and we want to make each other smile. And oh yeah, it's fun! Nothing wrong with that, silly co-worker.

I hope you all have an awesome Valentine's Day.