Making Progress (A Group Remodeling Project: Part 8)

img_1509There are holes in my walls, and this time they’re supposed to be there instead of spontaneously appearing as precious surprises from my teenage boy’s fist.

We are making progress, folks!

Things are a mess. They’re chaotic and jumbled. There’s a sheen of dust and debris over every surface. None of which is different than normal, actually. But WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS. ...  read more

We’re Back On! (A Group Remodeling Project: Part 7)

But First, Tacos

Things you should know:

  1. I’m still alive, and
  2. I’m missing writing here,
  3. but one kid had surgery,
  4. and one kid has mono,
  5. and one kid, who’s in the special education class, told another kid in the special education class that she was taking out a hit on him because he didn’t let her help him with science, and everyone knows when someone doesn’t let you help with science the only reasonable solution is to threaten that person with death.
  6. Also, one kid has a tiny concussion. And maybe mono, too. But probably just the concussion. I told him if he has mono like his sister, I’ll spank him, so he decided not to have it, after all.
  7. I won’t actually spank him; partly because it turns out I’m not a spanker, and partly because he’s hard to catch, even with a concussion.
  8. Also-also, one kid is graduating high school Saturday, so we are preparing to Fake Having a Clean House for the party. The struggle is real.
  9. Also-also-also, my Coma Friend had a heart attack last week, which she did not technically do at me or to me, but it was still unacceptable and uncalled for. She has apologized, so we can forgive her, but we are writing it into the Friendship Contract that she shall not have another. On the bright side, I got a free night’s lodging at the hospital.
  10. This morning, I threw away my mostly-consumed tub of Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Chocolate Fudge frosting (aka, COPING MECHANISM) because I do NOT need to eat ANY MORE of that crap at night while reading Meljean Brooks’ steampunk romance novels,
  11. BUT DO NOT WORRY because this evening I dug that tub of processed sugar out of the bathroom garbage and am finishing it now.

All of these things are happening, and also more things — All of the Things, really — and we may get to them in the coming days, but first, tacos.

First, tacos, because I feel they are emblematic of All the Things and particularly emblematic of the last two weeks.

I saw this in my Facebook feed:

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“Start typing @m [in the comments] and the first person that pops up has to buy you tacos (no cheating)” ...  read more

How to Get Kids to Pick Up Quickly and Enthusiastically

I asked my boys to tidy their room, which was a disaster, and, because they’re smart, capable, 9-year-old children who don’t need to have everything explained to them anymore in excruciating detail, I gave them two basic directions, as follows:

  1. When you are finished picking up your room, gentlemen, I should be able to both see and walk upon the floor.
  2. Your things should be organized in such a manner that you can easily find everything. I’m sure I don’t need to mention that you can certainly not find everything — including the shoes, jackets, books, homework folders, etc. that you cannot find ANY of the school mornings — if you shove it all underneath your bed or in the closet. Correct? I do not need to point this out? That there needs to be a better system? No? You get it? OK. OK, then, boys. Full speed ahead.

They finished in 10 minutes.

They have NEVER finished cleaning ANYTHING in 10 minutes, but there they were, tumbling down the stairs in holey socks with giant smiles, proclaiming completion. ...  read more

Several Problems with the Kitchen Remodel, Mostly Emotional (A Group Remodeling Project: Part 5)

Friends! GOOD NEWS! Greg and I fought about the kitchen!

This means he’s not being crafty or wily or luring us into complacency before he springs his trap to derail us.

Unless he’s being crafty and wily by arguing to throw us off the crafty and wily scent. He IS better at chess than me. Probably. I’ve never played chess with him, but I assume, based on his passion for mathematics and strategy, and my inability to sit at a table for longer than two minutes before feeling jittery and panicky and like there are twelve other things I should be doing with my time, that he’s better at chess than me. Greg’s definitely better at Scrabble, though, so I feel like we can extrapolate. He takes five hundred thousand million years to take his turn so he can graph every possible letter combination and permutation and the trajectory of their positions on the board, and then he gets crabby when I poke him in the shoulder and say, “Greg, Greg, Greg, Greg, Greg, Greg, Greg. Are you going to go now? How ’bout now? Now? How ’bout now?” ...  read more

Under Cabinet or Wall-Mount Range Hood? (Where You Tell Me How to Improve My House: Part 4)

Alright, folks; we have a winner!

IMG_9466mostrecent

84% of us voted to put Betty against the wall between the fridge and the sink. Whether we were motivated by the desire not to obstruct the window or because we want to jump naked out of a cake for Greg remains unclear and is, frankly, irrelevant.

Our conclusions are clear:

  1. Betty goes against the wall between the fridge and the sink,
  2. I’ll have to move the dishwasher further to the right so it’s not too close to the sink, and…
  3. We need to buy a really, really big, hollow cake, approximately the size of Rhoad Island so a) we all fit and b) Greg becomes too distracted to check our bank account ever, ever again. I just want to clarify that we are very egalitarian in these parts so the naked cake-jumping is not limited to a single gender; please begin mentally preparing yourselves now for close, sweaty, naked quarters inside the cake cave and to champion all body types, because we will shame no one for skinny or fluffy bodies, and to explain to your well-meaning friends and relatives that just because we’re sans-clothes together does not imply anything sexual or untoward. This is simply the World’s Best Distraction technique which is required in order to serve a Higher Purpose; namely, Helping Greg Through a Very Difficult Time because we care about him to the moon, and we don’t want him to have a heart attack. So really what we’re doing is Heart Attack Prevention, and when they ask if you’re crazy, you should ask if THEY’RE crazy for wanting people to die of heart attacks.

Incidentally, the other 16% of us aren’t necessarily opposed to putting Betty against the wall. We just wanted to be sure we’d explored all the options first. Some of our ideas included building Betty an island, putting Betty where the hutch or fridge are, or keeping Betty in the current stove spot but using a retractable hood or downdraft vent. These are all technically possible, but, in the end, there are various reasons I rejected them: the bulkiness of a downdraft unit, the fact that Betty’s high back would block its effectiveness, my dislike of a heat-sucking downdraft next to a stove, my adoration of our farm table, the desire to stay married to Greg and not drive him away with a full kitchen remodel, and, ultimately, the appeal of leaving the window totally unobstructed by Betty’s back or a pull-down hood. Those factors combined with a whopping 86% in favor of the move make the choice straight forward. But I like the creative way we think! We are going to need to keep this up as we go forward. ...  read more