13 February 2011

Valentine’s Mischief

On Friday, when it was doing this outside:

100_2767We were inside doing this:

100_2769   100_2772

In order to do this today:


Which resulted in masterpieces by Bug:


And by Bean:


And by Beeb:


And me:


Plus some leftover house parts that just got decorated:


I think a good time was had by all.

11 February 2011


Forgot the action shot that follows this one:


in the previous post.  Clearly, relaxation is contagious:



Oh wait.  Not that kind.  I mean “catch up.”  We have a new furry family member that joined our family this Christmas.  May I present “Snowflake”:


We went to KittyDaddy’s mom’s house on Christmas Day and returned to Wisconsin with this little guy.  Three of the five kittens in the litter had already been selected by cousins, but Miss Bean got to pick him out and name him.  He is appropriately playful and silly:


Surprisingly patient with all three kids:


Even though wee Beeber has been known to carry him around the house just like Charlie Brown’s neighbor did with her boneless cat.  No pictures of that, but take my word, it’s stinkin’ cute.  I just don’t want to send mixed messages:  Don’t do that to the kitty, but wait a second while I take a picture.

Friend Molly Bees came by for a bit of knitting and, instead, deboned the cat.  She says she put all the bones back, but he’s been a little slinky every since, so I’m not sure everything got put back in the right places.


But at least Beeb has had the chance to study sunbeam basking with a master:


Kitty Chai has been doing her best to resist his charms, but she is putting up with a nap buddy begrudgingly.  She has been reminding him regularly that pouncing on the diva is ill-advised, but he seems to be a slow study.

My only complaint is that the vet has been pestering us for a <ahem> sample to analyze.  With two cats sharing a litter box, there is no way to get his sample without witnessing him in the act.  So last night we finally got lucky and he was taking care of business when KittyDaddy went to clean the box.  I ran and got a baggie and retrieved the treasure.  Since it was a bit, shall we say, fragrant, I set it out in the garage.  Then first thing this morning, I wrangled all three kids into clothes, grabbed my purse and the baggy, hied everyone out into the 2°F weather*, and trucked over to the vet’s office.

I went in to make the delivery, fairly pleased with myself that it had only taken a month and a half.  I proceeded to get LECTURED about how it had to be less than 8 hours old and that it couldn’t be frozen.  (Might have been nice to know that before).  The general tone of the lecture was that I clearly don’t have my priorities straight.  I should have brought it in within a couple of days of being asked.  I should have know that it needed to be delivered still steaming.  I am clearly a bad pet owner for, well, you know, living life, dealing with my children and the household, etc. instead of following the kitten around with a plastic bag.  If I were just a wee bit pissier, I would come back to the vet with the cat and a plastic bag and told them to call me when they have what they need.  Pardon me, if you need me I’ll be over here, rolling my eyes.

* Okay, perhaps I exaggerate.  I may have been as high as, say, 5°F.

10 February 2011

Making changes

2011 appears to be declaring itself the year of home improvement.  With three kids, we are living in constant chaos and I feel like I go into cranky-mommy meltdown mode fairly regularly to try and restore some order.  There have been times in my life where home was basically a place to eat meals and fall asleep between hectic here-and-there-ing.  As a homeschooling mom, I am finding that we need our house to be a place that is more conducive to creating and learning and just plain old living.  I am reading Shelter for the Spirit:  How to Make you Home a Haven in a Hectic World by Victoria Moran.  This book was recommended in one of the sessions I went to at the homeschooling conference last spring and has turned out to be just the right book at the right time to make our space more livable.

Being in a rental, there are some things that just aren’t going to happen.  It makes no sense for us to invest time and money in making things more like we like them only to have nothing to show for them when we move out.  So, early last month, I went through our place, room by room to figure out what we need to live with and what changes we can make to make things work.  A few things clearly fall in the need-to-live-with category are the dishwasher and washing machine.  Each has significant personality issues and after several requests to the landlord are as fixed as they are going to get.  So if you could send a good word to the deity of your choice for them to die completely so the landlord HAS to do something, I would appreciate it.

So I have developed my big list which includes simplifying and reducing stuff where we can and getting the stuff we have better organized, as well as creating spaces for our living to happen.  There is also a whole category of things that I am doing to keep things that were a problem when we moved in from getting worse and quick and dirty cosmetic fixes I can do to make things look nicer.

100_2764So far, I have made a bit of progress in our upstairs bathroom and in the basement.  Most of the bathroom had crumbly caulk and clear evidence of mildew under the linoleum.  After fight the futility of trying to keep water inside the bathtub for too long, I finally got it fixed.  Really the lino needs to be replaced, with some work on the floorboards underneath, but I did the best I could to get everything sealed tight so we can have splashes without aggravating the problem.  We also finally replaced the light bulbs above the sink with CFLs.  The bulbs were gradually burning out and I didn’t feel the love for having two types of bulbs going on, so we waited until half of them were gone and then replaced them all.  It is now possible to see in the bathroom again.  Very exciting stuff.  Since I have my fancy pants white caulk, I will probably go in and recaulk the sink just so it looks better at some point, too.


The basement has also been getting my attention.  We spent the better part of a weekend planning out shelves.  We currently have a mish-mash of shelves and storage containers and have accumulated just too many toys.  So the first job was upgrading storage.  Since we don’t expect to be in this place forever, we decided that it made more sense to go with something modular that can be taken apart to be moved or to be repurposed.  We have some of these shelves in the garage, so we spent a weekend planning out how many and what size of shelves we wanted and had our pantry shelves put up a couple of days later.  Now I have a good place for canning supplies and equipment, as well as a place to keep the full jars.

We also mapped out shelves for the play area, but the end pieces had to be special ordered, so we didn’t get them until just last weekend.  I have been working on them since.  Putting the parts together is easy.  The shelves themselves, however are a bit fiddly.  The narrower shelves above only needed a chunk about 1” x 1/8” taken off the sides at both the front and back edge.  After having done the ones in the garage, I have gotten pretty good at whacking out what I need to with the Dremel.  And the pantry shelves have only two shelves with a grand total of eight corners, so it went pretty quickly.  However, the shelves for the toy area are taking longer.  For the wider shelves, the premade shelves we are using are a bit too wide, so in addition to the four corners, I also have to take 15/16” of the long edge.  I wish I lived closer to family members who have a table saw or a radial arm saw, but I have gotten pretty handy with my Skil saw, so I am working away.  The other part that is taking much longer is that there are seven shelves, so that means sawing off seven edges and shaping twenty-eight freakin’ corners.  I finished four of the shelves today.  The bad news, however, is the reward for finishing the other three is that the next job is going through all the toys and getting rid of everything that is broken and winnowing down things that don’t get played with.  It is very likely to be not pretty as neither Bug nor Bean parts easily with belonging.

I am once again hoping to get back into the habit of blogging, but I’ve made that promise before, so don’t hold your breath!