Category Archives: life

Now it’s official

We told our families last week and posted it on Facebook on Sunday, but it’s not official until The Blog knows:

Simon is going to be a big brother! ūüôā

We’re about 16 weeks pregnant (found out on Nov. 21), which means we’re looking at a late July-ish arrival date. ¬†So far this pregnancy is super easy like my last one, complicated only by the fact that it’s about ten times more exhausting to chase around a toddler than to sit at a desk all day. ¬†We found a great midwife who really jives with our philosophy (which is lucky; there aren’t many home birth midwives in Ohio, much less ones who actually bring medical supplies to births and have a friendly working relationship with docs at the local hospital in the event of transfer). ¬†Simon still doesn’t really get what’s going on, but that’s to be expected since he’s so young. ¬†We’re reading lots of books on the topic and I’m going to get him a baby doll at Target, but I doubt he’ll really get it until Hoopling #2 (temporarily called Garfunkel, naturally) actually shows up.

So yay babies!

Our weekend was pretty good. ¬†Friday after Simon’s ped checkup we had lunch with Jeff, then Simes and I went to Canton and got him some clothes for spring at Once Upon a Child, and a few maternity pieces for myself (most of my things from last time aren’t nursing-friendly). We went up to Cleveland on Saturday because Jeff needed some work clothes and I was out of my LUSH face wash stuff. ¬†Definitely not our most exciting adventure, but Simes got some quality Tula Time with his Daddy and I got a change of scenery from Akron for a bit, so it’s all good. ¬†I ran a few errands by myself on Sunday, which was LUXURY. ¬†I missed having someone to talk to as I pushed my cart around Target, but it was nice to browse in peace and not spend my time supervising the wee one as he pushes the shopping cart or tries to wander away. ¬†I treated myself to popcorn and a Diet Coke to make it a real escape ūüėÄ ¬†We turned on the football game Sunday night, but we’re not really a football house so it was more about the commercials and halftime show than the stupid game.

I know it’s not quite the same, but I feel compelled to insert this here:

And I suppose that I am Moss in that scenario.  Goody.

Mr. Cuteness was in rare form yesterday morning:

He was rolling grapes all over the high chair. ¬†Apparently it has juuuust a hint of a slant to it, so he was “racing” them, shooting them like pool balls, the whole nine yards. ¬†I made a video but, in true toddler fashion, he stopped as soon as the camera came out:

After breakfast we actually went BACK up to Cleveland to hunt down a couple fabrics that my local JoAnn doesn’t carry, then stopped by a quilt shop in Hudson that I’d heard good things about. ¬†I got a few half-yard lengths for my stash. ¬†Maybe to go into Garfunkel’s quilt; maybe not.

I’d love to tell you all about what I’m working on right now, but it must remain secret for a while yet. ¬†But it’s going to be awesome! ¬†HINT:

And no, I promise you on my great-great-great grandmother’s grave that it has nothing to do with Garfunkel. ¬†For serious. ¬†(Just like last time, we’re not finding out if it’s a boy or girl)

Since driving all over northeast Ohio seems to be my hobby as of late, today we went down to Canton for some lunch and shopping with Kathy. ¬†We went to this place called The Flower Factory, which is a closeout store sort of like a Michael’s-meets-HomeGoods. ¬†I can’t show you any pictures of my finds yet because they’re in the car and I’m lazy (HONESTY), but I got a couple delicious candles, some seasonal decorations for next fall and winter, and a few random craft supplies. ¬†All told, we spent about two hours wandering around just looking at everything. ¬†That place is like a dream! ¬†I can’t wait to go back ūüôā

Here’s one pic that I grabbed in the store:

Just aisle after aisle of heavily discounted seasonal stuff, decor, craft supplies, party items, and (I wish I’d gotten a picture of this) disposable “spa thongs”. ¬†Needless to say, I stocked up. ¬†I hate having to re-use my spa thongs.

We enjoyed a long lunch and catch-up session at Max and Erma’s, and Simon got some quality attention that he is sooooooo desperately lacking (or so he says). ¬†We’re so lucky to have a friend in Kathy! ‚̧

My little dragon also got the awesomest present ever:  his very own castle!

Kathy, he has had SO much fun playing with it, ever since he woke up from his nap!   Thank you SO SO SO MUCH.

Apparently the king needed a kiss:

In our version, the DRAGON is the master and sits on the throne:

OK well somebody is staring at me and shaking an empty snack dish my direction, so I believe I’m being summoned. ¬†Have a great evening, everyone!

October-January

::tap tap tap::  Is this thing on?

Wow. ¬†This has been my longest blog hiatus to date. ¬†Win? ¬†No. ¬†LOSE. ¬†I knew it was getting bad when not only was my dad nagging me for new posts, but so were old friends who I had no idea even stalked me on here (MEGAN). ¬†So consider this an official apology for the prolonged absence. ¬†We’re all fine and happy; I’ve just find it increasingly hard to sit down and write anything with the 2-1/2-foot-tall tornado spinning around here. ¬†(Jessica I have no idea how you do it with two!)

Maybe I need to set up a fun routine – blogging when he goes down for his naps, maybe make a cup of tea. ¬†Yes. ¬†That’s the ticket!

We’ve been going a little stir crazy lately what with Polar Vortex I and II sweeping through Akron (the low tonight is supposed to be -10. ¬†BRR!). ¬†But we got about 8″ of snow on Saturday, so we decided to take advantage of it and play outside for a bit. ¬†Look at my little icicle!

I lurve him ūüôā

Last week it was less cold and snowy, so we bundled up for a walk. ¬†I hate using a stroller in this neighborhood since the sidewalks are uneven (big trees and roots everywhere), so we hadn’t been going out as much since it turned cold, and Simon is getting a bit too big to wear on my front. ¬†Then I had the brilliant idea to see if Jeff’s windbreaker was big enough to cover both of us. ¬†It was! ¬†So I wrapped Simon onto my back, zipped us up in Jeff’s coat, and we were off ūüôā

It worked so well that I think we’ll walk down to the library this afternoon, before it gets any colder (I think we’re going to be housebound tomorrow).

Jeff left for Cincinnati this morning and doesn’t get back until Wednesday evening, so I’ve got to find ways to fill our time while he’s gone. ¬†I think we’ll probably bust out the finger paints Grandma and Grandpa gave Simon for Christmas, and after he goes to bed I’ll try to make some serious progress on Jeff’s belated Christmas socks. ¬†If the weather cooperates, I think Kathy and I are going to try and meet up for lunch in Canton on Wednesday. ¬†I haven’t seen her since, what, October? ¬†We’re long overdue for a catch-up! ¬†I may also load Simon up and go to West Point Market for some of their fancy soup or something at some point. ¬†(MY LIFE IS SO EXCITING)

(Aside – this blogging thing isn’t working out too well right now. ¬†Someone keeps thrusting “Let’s Dance, Little Pookie” at me and whining.)

Why don’t I wrap up with a couple pictures from our holiday trip to St. Louis and KC?

Olivia always asks to “hold the baby”, even though he’s not terribly compliant and hold-able anymore (at least, not for an 8-year-old!):

Cuddles with Aunt Laura, who we got to see on our way back to Akron:

We went to see Grandmother and Granddad, and Aunt Linda and Uncle Jeremy, when we were in KC. ¬†Grandmother invoked Great-Grandparent Privileges and stuffed Simon’s little face with cookies:

Clearly he didn’t really mind ūüėÄ

They were also really nice to us at lunch in the retirement community’s dining room (better than last time). ¬†My arch enemy is still working there, but Mom and I gave her shifty glares. ¬†BECAUSE WE CAN. ¬†Our server that day was just tickled to have a baby in her section, and when I asked if I could get a cup of fruit or something for him, she came back with a fruit cup, applesauce, a banana, pudding, animal crackers, graham crackers, and I don’t even know what else. ¬†She even delighted in putting some water in his sippy cup for him! ¬†Too sweet ūüôā

Lots of stories with Granddad, too, while we were, in Great-Grandmother’s apartment:

I have seriously never met a child who likes stories as well as this little one. ¬†I think I’ve mentioned before that we can read for at least an hour at a go, and that hasn’t changed. ¬†He’ll crawl up on my lap (the ottoman is our designated story-reading spot) and we’ll go through all his board books, most of them multiple times. ¬†Last week Jeff put together one of those $18 particle-board bookcases from Target and I started moving the non-board-book kids’ books into the living room too (they had been on the shelves in the playroom). ¬†Now Simon will go over and choose just the story he wants to hear, then patiently sit through the whole thing – even the long ones! ¬†He’d rather read stories than do just about anything else, I’d guess.

Which is also why I am CONSTANTLY buying books. ¬†We go to the library a lot, but when I can always find good kids’ books for like $0.50-$1 at consignment shops, why not just go ahead and buy them? ¬†(Ask me if I regret this decision when it’s time to pack up and move again in 8 months…) ¬†After food, love, and sleep, I really can’t think of anything better for a baby’s development than lots of reading. ¬†I’m so glad Simon agrees!

And now I really must be off. ¬†I’ve missed y’all, and hope it won’t be another 3 months before I can drag my lazy butt over to WordPress again!

Yankee Peddler! And also I think there may be a house under these boxes

First things first: ¬†they came and installed a new dishwasher yesterday, and fixed the gas line leak. ¬†The maintenance dude went ahead and reconnected our gas, so now we can enjoy life’s luxuries (cooking, bathing…). ¬†At least until I get the gas company to do their re-inspection, at which point I’m sure they’ll find something else that’ll be imminently killing us. :-\

 

ANYWAY.

 

On Sunday we were going kind of stir crazy in the still quite boxy house, so we decided to escape on our first-ever Akron adventure, and visit the Yankee Peddler festival.  I had heard-tell that it was one part craft fair, one part RenFest-set-in-the-19th-century.  We were intrigued.

 

PSLs in hand, we ventured southward.  The trees in northern Ohio are juuuust starting to turn, swaying ragweed lines the highways, and the weather on Saturday was absolutely perfect:  cloudy and cool with just a bit of nip in the air.  LOVE.

 

Our arrival!

 

Soooo…it definitely wasn’t like RenFest (give or take 300 years). ¬†We didn’t see any costumed attendees (just some of the workers), and the stage shows were cute but not quite up to caliber. ¬†But there were lots of neat crafts to see (pottery!), and funnel cakes:

 

So I was happy!  We also got to see a magic show and some clog dancers.  And also a lot of white people.  White people as far as the eye can see!  (Ohio is not, I understand, known for its diversity)

 

I was also the only babywearer there.

Which is fine. ¬†As I told Jeff, I’m comfortable being the odd woman out in a crowd. ¬†It’s kind of my thing. ūüėõ ¬†Plus at least this is something vaguely positive for people to point and whisper about, rather than my acne or debilitating clumsiness.

 

(That’s also a really bad wrap job, but Simon was cranky and pulling my hair and was about to get his little butt yanked out of there and tossed over Daddy’s shoulder for the trip back to the car.)

 

So yes. Yankee Peddler: fun!  Good job, Ohio.

 

~~~

 

Yesterday Jeff discovered his front bike tube really won’t hold air, so he took the car to work and left us stranded at home. ¬†It was just what I needed: some SERIOUS unpacking happened: Simon’s room, the playroom and dining room are done, there are just a couple boxes left in the bedroom, half a box in the bathroom (the bathroom closet/cabinet isn’t really big enough for all our towels and toiletries, so I need to pick up a shelf at IKEA), and a bunch of miscellaneous things in the living room. ¬†Hard to unpack the office/craft room without any desks or shelves to put our stuff on (casualties of the past two moves), so those will have to wait for Ikea, too (Pittsburgh!). ¬†And then we’ll be done!

 

Simon’s asleep now, having just returned from a trip to Target (bless his little heart, I always have to send him with a list or else he just comes back with more blocks and greek yogurt), I had an early lunch of leftovers, and now I think I’ll see about finishing up some of these random boxes so I can stop effing looking at them! ¬†Good riddance to boxes! ūüôā

Continuation

Sorry for the hiatus. ¬†I’ve been a wee bit busy (that’s putting it mildly).

We were able to sleep at the house on Sunday night after the upstairs was cleaned(floors/walls/bathroom), and Lucy and her crew finished their cleaning on the main floor on Monday. ¬†That’s also when the truck unloaders showed up, *and* when our next problem happened.

You see, this is what was revealed when the unloaders started their work:

Doesn’t look quite right, does it? ¬†See our hutch, tipped precariously toward Jeff’s bike? ¬†What about the couch (covered in an exploded box of towels, and my precious KitchenAid mixer) making its slow downward descent? ¬†The crumpled boxes (marked “FRAGILE” on top, in case you can’t see) are the only thing holding it in.

I’m no expert, but I’m preeeeeetty sure that’s not how it was supposed to look.

I asked our unloaders WTF was going on, and they said that the loaders did a *really* poor job. ¬†They said the truck wasn’t packed at all like it should be for a cross-country move, and that while the first 1/3-ish was done well, the remainder of our stuff was pretty much just thrown in there.

So you know I was eager to see the rest of the damage.

Like the top of our hutch, casually tossed on top of everything else:

Nice. ¬†(See the mattresses lashed in at the back, carefully holding in that big wall o’ boxes? ¬†Seems that after they got that far, that’s when the LA loaders gave up)

But it wasn’t until I started unpacking things that we discovered how bad the damage was. ¬†I Tweeted as I discovered the fatalities, like some of our wedding china:

and my favorite baked beans and apple crisp baking dish:

And how about all but one of our stoneware bowls?

As the unloaders carried off each dinged-up box, one commented “it seems like your movers back in LA were TRYING to break your stuff.”

Did I mention the gouges and scratches on our furniture? ¬†Here’s a bookshelf my dad made:

And this, about 3″ x 1″, appeared on the top of the hutch:

There are also all sorts of scratches on our other furniture: my favorite Mission-style LLBean chair, the front of that hutch, all our end tables, both our dining chairs, Simon’s high chair… just about every piece has some new bruise.

Of course, Jeff and I can’t find our copy of the contract with those loaders, so we don’t know if any of this will be covered. ¬†At worst, I’ll just give them a scathing Yelp review. ¬†At best, we’ll be able to get some reimbursement for all our damaged stuff. ¬†Jeff is also going to see if maybe our renter’s insurance covers any of this, even though the stuff was technically in transit when it was damaged.

By Wednesday, things were looking up a bit: at least we were in the house, with our stuff, Jeff was getting acclimated at work.  It was going to be OK!

Let’s call those “the halcyon days”. ¬†AT&T came and hooked up our UVerse on Friday, I got some finish repair pens at Home Depot to fix my poor scratched wood, and I seemed to have (finally!) discovered the last of the damage to our breakables.

Then it was Saturday – yesterday – my birthday!

We had an appointment for the gas company to come by and do the official start-of-service stuff, while Jeff took the car in to have a check engine light dealt with. ¬†The gas company guy came by as scheduled, looking like JK Simmons’ doppleganger. ¬†After doing the usual tests and such, he concluded (of course) that there was a minor street-side gas leak, and a¬†major leak in the house. ¬†So he had to turn off our service, pending repairs.

Which left us with no hot water, no stove, and no furnace.

At JK Simmons’ advice, I called our property manager¬†and the emergency maintenance number while the gas company was still there (they did the street-side repairs within a couple hours). ¬†The maintenance guy who eventually called me back was one of the same hooligans who did the slapdash repairs on the house, and he told me that he wouldn’t be able to do anything until he could get ahold of the property manager¬†and the house’s owner, for permission to buy all the new piping needed to fix the issue.

So now…we wait. ¬†In a house with no hot water, and no stove to even warm up water for Simon’s bath (or make the giant pot of tea I so dearly need). ¬†We wait, for an indeterminable time, until two separate individuals decide that functioning gas is a valid expense.

That’s not where the landlord’s shenanigans end, though. ¬†Last week he stopped by and I walked through the place with him, giving him a comprehensive list of repairs that were necessary for this place to be habitable, as well as repairs/upgrades that Jeff and I would like to do. ¬†But of course, now he’s not answering/returning our calls, and we’re stuck in a house that’s not fit for occupancy.

Among other things, his company needs to:

  • re-caulk the bathtub enclosure (it was done incorrectly and is pulling away from the tub, allowing mold and other nasties to grow)
  • remove or cover peeling lead paint in Simon’s bedroom window-wells
  • Replace/cover exposed wiring behind stove
  • Correct mis-wiring of kitchen light switch (you get a lively little shock if your finger brushes the switchplate screw. ¬†A great way to wake up in the morning!)
  • Replace missing glass in back bedroom window (currently there’s just storm windowglass)
  • Replace dishwasher power switch under the sink (it’s falling apart, leaving exposed wires in a potentially damp environment)
  • Replace dishwasher (full of mold)
  • Provide us with back door, side door, and garage door keys

It’s pretty much an electrician’s wet dream, eh?

Jeff has started looking into the next steps re: protecting our rights as tenants. ¬†I hope we don’t have to venture into the world of escrow accounts and certified letters, but we may be headed that way soon if the property management company doesn’t start fixing those things and answering our damn calls.

THIS HAS BEEN THE WORST FUCKING MOVE EVER, GUYS. ¬†It just doesn’t end – always another problem, and never anything that we can fix ourselves. ¬†If it weren’t for the damn uncooperative landlord, these problems would’ve been so much more tolerable.

Just be glad you’re not my dad: he called yesterday to wish me a happy birthday and instead got to listen to me bawl about all the aforementioned goddamn problems and the asshole landlord.

But on a happier note, here are the repairs/upgrades that we’d like to do:

  • Paint the porch (Killz!)
  • Paint the back door and basement door
  • Powerwash driveway, porch, and walk
  • Minor landscaping in the backyard
  • Plant something pretty around the pergola
  • Fix the windowboxes and beautify the side yards (I love the raspberry bushes and hydrangeas and this rosebush that has the tiniest little roses ever)

But despite it all, I am still *madly* in love with this house. ¬†I tell Jeff every day, I wish that we were living here in Akron forever so we could just buy the dang thing and fix it ourselves. ¬†I need to take pictures soon to show you guys how awesome it is. ¬†I promise I will once we’ve painted the porch and finished unpacking ūüôā ¬†But you have GOT to see all the neat architectural details. ¬†The gorgeous mantle, the antique doorknobs, the beautiful woodwork that has somehow *never* been painted over. ¬†The spacious kitchen that – I’m not gonna lie – needs to be completely gutted and renovated. ¬†The just-right bedrooms, the airy attic, and the perfect living room. ¬†The cute little playroom. ¬†Twenty years ago, a family with kids lived here and marked their progressive heights on a door in the basement. ¬†I love this house – and Akron – more and more every day, and I’m sad that we’ll only get to live here for a year. ¬†But am I so crazy that I’d like for that year to be spent with, oh, hot water?!

So yeah, as a birthday gift from Dominion Gas Co., we got our gas turned off. ¬†THANKS GUYS. ¬†JK Simmons, ya goodfornuthin’ such-n-such.

Jeff and Simon returned from errands with matching devilish grins on their faces, and while I ran out to pick up carryout sushi for my birthday lunch/dinner Jeff undertook a covert wrapping operation.  After lunch I was given two sweet birthday cards, a GIANT package of Ghirardelli squares, and a ridiculously awesome Brookstone back massager.  Then a local florist dropped off this gorgeous arrangement from Mom and Dad:

(lilies!!!)

We wrapped up the evening with a family walk to the playground/park around the corner:

and a trip to Menchie’s, and the grocery store that had giant pots of mums on sale for $3.99 each. ¬†(I got two, one for each side of the front steps. ¬†They’re not blooming yet, but will be SO PRETTY when they do!)

I’ve said it before and I say it again: ¬†Jeff is wonderful at turning my bad days into good ones. ¬†I do like him, quite a bit ūüôā

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about our first official Ohio Adventure! ūüôā

Oh man.

Where to begin?

 

First of all, we’re in Akron. ¬†Unfortunately we’re not in our new house yet. ¬†No, we’re not happy about that (duh). ¬†Let’s just get that out of the way.

 

Leaving LA went about as planned, and the boys’ drive to Akron was OK.

 

Simes and I spent two days at Mom and Dad’s house: Granddad had a short stint in the hospital for an infection so we drove Grandmother to visit him. ¬†I got to have a GREAT lunch with Stef and Mandi, sans baby (Grammy’s babysitting service! ¬†The price right ;-)). ¬†We got haircuts, hung out with Aunt Judy for a bit, did some laundry and picked Linda up from the airport. ¬†On Wednesday we drove (well, Linda drove. ¬†I sat in the back and entertained Simon) from KC to Indianapolis, with a long lunch- and yarn-buying-break in St. Louis (got to see Jeff’s cousins Katie and Carol, and Linda’s best friend Paula). ¬†We met up with the guys in Indianapolis, and yesterday we went from Indianapolis to Akron. ¬†That’s where it went tits up.

 

I made this gussied-up picture when I was young and optimistic (soo….Thursday morning):

The guys had had usual little problems on their big drive – Dad had some minor issues with the truck, Jeff got tired of lugging the kennels and coolers and Gretchen into hotel rooms every night, Dad accidentally put his hand in dog puke and had to ride like that 15 miles to the next exit… all the little things you can look back in 5 years (or 5 weeks) and laugh at.

 

We will NOT be laughing at this current situation, though.

 

About an hour before we all got to Akron, Jeff got a call from our new landlord. ¬†The previous tenants – a somewhat less-than-desirable-seeming family – hadn’t vacated the house as planned. ¬†Consequently, the maintenance guy(s) weren’t able to take care of all the fixing up that the house needed to make it habitable.

 

Why on earth did they wait until just before we got there to tell us this?!

 

Our landlord assured us that he had three men working on the house, and that it would be in tip-top-shape by the time we arrived.  So we pressed onward.

 

We got to the house, though, and of course everything was¬†not OK. ¬†The kitchen was filthy, the walls still full of holes (nail-¬†and fist-sized). ¬†The windows have dust half an inch thick. ¬†The carpets…::shudder::. ¬†And the upstairs floors were still covered in debris the previous tenants left behind. ¬†It’s just a mess ūüė¶

 

So I called the landlord and told him about our concerns; he told us he’d have the crew back the next day to keep working on the place, and that we should go to a hotel for the night (whether he’ll pay us back for that or not is to be determined. ¬†Also, fun fact: ¬†the only hotel in Akron that accepts pets but¬†isn’t also infested with bedbugs, costs $100/night. ¬†Wowee! ¬†Good thing that Jeff and I are so independently wealthy! ¬†/sarcasm)

 

Yesterday morning we woke up, bright-eyed and optimistic about our new home. ¬†A crew had allegedly been working diligently since 6am to make the house move-in ready. ¬†So what do we walk in to see? ¬†A guy re-painting the only room in the house that¬†didn’t need to be re-done (and, of course, completely ignoring the other 8 rooms that were a mess), some Kaboom ineffectually squirted on the moldy kitchen tile, and (to be fair) a lawn guy working quickly and steadily to rid the garage and yard of all the crap the previous tenants left behind.

 

So we sat around on the front steps and tried to stay out of the way, and tried to figure out exactly what this three-man team had been up to for the past five hours (I told Jeff that I could’ve gotten more done myself in that time, if I’d been bopping to music and had a cooperative baby on my back). ¬†I had to pester the landlord *again* about my concerns, and he talked to his guys (probably bitching about me). ¬†The crew packed up and left at 3:00 on the nose, one coat of paint hastily and crappily applied to the bedroom walls, and a scrap of wood covering the hole in one bedroom’s floor. ¬†The whole place was filthy, but apparently they were “done”.

 

Here, I made you a picture of me, at that news:

Clearly you don’t want to be dealing with me.

 

More angry phone calls, etc etc. ¬†Landlord told us he’d call a carpet cleaning company to deal with that, he’d contact the owner for permission to repaint the first floor and finish the painting on the second (apparently asking for two coats of nicely-applied paint is a¬†really unusual request), and¬†that if we weren’t happy with the cleanliness of the house (that’s putting it mildly), we could hire our own cleaning crew and have the bill sent to him. ¬†So that’s exactly what we did. ¬†Our cleaners are going to work this afternoon and evening and tomorrow, and with any luck they’ll be done by tomorrow night. ¬†In a single fortuitous turn of luck, the clerk at our hotel (which is a really commodious, friendly and helpful establishment, for all the exorbitant expense) also does housekeeping and home repairs, and when I mentioned our troubles to her she was happy to get her crew right on the job. ¬†Which was good, because none of the other housekeeping companies I had called first were answering their phones at 5:00 on a Friday afternoon. ¬†(Shocking!)

 

In the end, we’ll have accrued (hopefully no more than) a three-night hotel bill, an extra day of truck rental, and at least 900 bajillion phone calls, untold amounts of stress, 45 bottles of Diet Coke, and 8 Subway sandwiches. ¬†And a new dress shirt for Jeff, because all his work clothes are packed away in the truck and did I mention he starts work on Monday? ¬†(!!!) ¬†And I went and got ice cream sundaes for us last night because DAMMIT WE DESERVE IT.

 

We’re about to head back over to the house and see if this mythical carpet cleaner guy is really as good as the landlord insists (I remain dubious), and meet with the housekeeping crew to make sure they see everything that needs to be done.

 

Later – not now – I’m going to get on the landlord’s ass about the paint that his maintenance guys smeared on the light fixtures, the fact that they re-hung the bathroom cabinets about an inch off, and figure out exactly when the new, non-mold-filled dishwasher will arrive. ¬†We also need to attempt – for the third time – to schedule someone to come unload our moving truck, and then worry about anything that may have broken in transit (I’m a little bit suspicious of the apparently-precarious positioning of our sofa in there).

 

At our leisure, Jeff and I are going to repaint the front porch with Killz (it’s all sorts of moldy), weed and winterize the flower beds (there are long-neglected raspberry bushes there!), plant some pretty climbing plant for the pergola, repaint the back door, and probably paint and scrub the basement stairwell. ¬†And other assorted little jobs.

 

To say these past few days have been rough is…a bit of an understatement. ¬†I would like you to note that I will not be reclining on the screened-in porch with iced tea anytime soon, nor will I be preparing a hearty and homey dinner in that kitchen tonight. ¬†I do remain ever-optimistic, though, that maybe I won’t have to sob on the living room floor at any point today. ¬†But we shall see.

 

I’ll wrap up with a couple cute pictures of Simon and Granddad.

 

He got to drive from Indianapolis!

 

 

And that’s all I’ve got. ¬†Wish me luck as I head back into the moldy, dirty abyss!

 

Someone convince me this will all be OK in the end…?

Laying low

After all of yesterday’s running around, Simon and I have stayed home today. ¬†He made his wishes to that effect apparent when he took a 2 1/2 hour nap, from 9:30 to 12:00. ¬†Little dude was tuckered out!

 

Yesterday evening we picked Jeff up from the train station and went up to this Mexican restaurant in Pasadena that we really like: El Portal. ¬†Their fried fish tacos are the bomb-diggity! ¬†And Jeff gets this carne burrito that’s essentially just a side of beef wrapped in a tortilla. ¬†Massive. ¬†Disgusting. ¬†But he likes it.

 

The past two nights we’ve done something different for Simon’s bedtime, that’s actually worked out sorta well. ¬†Our old routine (outlined in exhausting detail last week, if you care) was getting really frustrating for me. ¬†Simon now likes to flip from boob to boob when he’s tired and avoiding sleep, culminating in biting me and whining once they’re empty and he’s not asleep. ¬†So my new plan to put a stop to THAT shit has consisted of putting the boobs away, then pinning his arms down and doing the rocking back-and-forth and humming thing that I do when I’m wearing him into a nap. ¬†Wednesday night the novelty of it was enough that he conked right out, but last night he struggled mightily (including several attempts to bite my boob through my bra/shirt. ¬†Eewwwwouuuuchhhh!) ¬†After he fell asleep from rocking, though, he startled awake a few minutes later and I ended up boobing him back down. ¬†So we’ll see what happens tonight. ¬†I still prefer boobing right up until he sleeps (because once he drops off he’ll usually sleep-nurse long enough to stimulate a second let-down), but I’m also a fan of keeping my nipples attached to my body, lol. ¬†Nursing a big kid is a whole different game than nursing a tiny baby! ¬†We still love it though ūüôā

 

Yesterday evening I was thinking longingly of my long-neglected knitting, and all of a sudden I was struck by the undeniable urge to cast on for a pair of striped stockinette knee socks. ¬†So I entered the blue room (which is where we’re keeping all our packed boxes) and climbed Empty Box Mountain to reach the far-flung Yarn Stash Binland:

And dug out a local handdye (La Jolla “Baah”) and some Fiberphile that I’ve had since the Great Stashbinge of 2011. ¬†And then I fell asleep, because it was 10:00 an I am old.

 

But this morning! ¬†While Simon slumbered on the couch next to me, I painstakingly HAND-WOUND both of these hanks (and the Fiberphile was more than a little knotty, I don’t mind telling you), since my swift and ballwinder are also buried and we got rid of the lamp with a shade that was perfect for an impromptu swift.

 

And I’m about to cast on in a minute here, if Simon will stay engaged with his toy piano and push-walker long enough for me to cast on 88 stitches and join in the round without twisting ūüėČ

 

This afternoon – I’m posting here, so you’ll hold me to it! – I have¬†got to work on packing. ¬†Tea said she should be able to watch Simon for a bit, and that’d be great – it would give me the chance to get started on the kitchen. ¬†Packing the kitchen is so deceptive – everything’s tucked away in cabinets, so it doesn’t look like *that* much, but then you’ve gotta wrap everything, and …buh. ¬†It’s a lot.

 

The good news is that I put together a whole ‘nuther box of stuff for Goodwill. ¬†Mostly Jeff’s stuff :-P.

 

Happy Friday!

 

(PS – did you know that though Pyrex is incredibly durable, when it breaks it shatters magnificently into exceptionally pointy little grains of glass? ¬†And that then you have to not only sweep and vacuum up the shards, but also go over the entire floor with strips of packing tape? ¬†There. ¬†Now you know. ¬†So you won’t feel compelled to break any and find out the hard way. ¬†You’re welcome.)

Who knew southern California was hot in August?

(Subtitle: and other such trivia I’ve learned this year)

 

Let’s see…where did I leave off yesterday?

 

Late afternoon I went on a little walk with Tea and Ella and another neighbor of ours. ¬†This lady is a clothing designer, super cute, and¬†rocks the pixie haircut. ¬†And she’s ridiculously nice. ¬†So I’d have to hate her, if she weren’t so damn friendly. ¬†You know that kind of person? ¬†Where you look at them and you’re like “you…you cannot be real. ¬†No one is¬†that¬†nice.” ¬†I also think I’d have a new friend, but I don’t want to go making friends ¬†just to run away in two weeks. ¬†Too much effort. ¬† LOL I think I’m revealing more about myself here than anything else ūüėõ

 

Then as soon as we got home Roxie needed out (I didn’t want to bring her on the earlier walk because it’s a little exhausting to wrangle her and keep Simon’s hat on and carry on a coherent conversation), so we headed back out – I didn’t even take Simon off – and walked down the street to meet Jeff on his way home. ¬†I partially do that to spend a few extra minutes with him, but mostly because it’s so much fun to watch Simon and Roxie lose their shit when their white knight appears, riding up the street on his bike ūüėČ ¬†Yesterday Simon was clapping every time a Metro train passed, applauding like it was the best show he’d ever seen. ¬†So damn cute!

 

Nothing big yesterday evening: I did a little housework, we had a light dinner, then Jeff and I both crashed at like 10:00.  WE ARE SO OLD.

 

Have you guys heard of the Beautiful Mess app? ¬†It’s one of those photo-editing ones, and it’s so much fun to tinker with. ¬†Really cute and well done. ¬†My cousin Lacey turned me onto it; she used it to edit an adorable picture she took of Simon and Jett at the Monson reunion last month (I won’t show it because I don’t know her policy on showing off her kid for public consumption). ¬†I’ve been having a lot of fun editing pics of Simon, usually when I’m awake at 3am. ¬†It’s more productive than screwing around on Reddit, right? ¬†Here’s one I did of him at breakfast today:

I cropped it and fixed the tones as best I could using Aviary, then I used Beautiful Mess to add the caption and border and the picture effect.  That app has *so* many cute fonts, and adorable borders and graphics.

 

Here’s the original, for comparison:

Soooooo much better, right?

 

Here’s a couple more that I did, using the same thing (Aviary to make it pretty, Beautiful Mess for captions). ¬†On the whole, I like Aviary’s effects the best: way better than Flickr or the ones on Instagram or Twitter (though the former aren’t too bad, really).

 

Anyway.  Enough photo-whoring.

 

We had grand plans for this morning:  Simon and I were going to run up to Glendale to pick up the prints from his 1-year photos, then we were going to take the train (!!! TRAINS !!!) downtown and have lunch with Jeff, then spin by the bank on the way home for laundry quarters.

 

Instead, just as we were walking out, I reached to the key peg by the door only to see that (cue ominous music) my keys weren’t there. ¬†In fact, my keys and Simon’s hat were in Jeff’s briefcase, which was with Jeff, who was downtown at work. ¬†That’s a great place ¬†to keep them, eh? ūüėõ ¬†Obviously, a reconfiguring of plans was required.

 

Without keys, I couldn’t drive anywhere or even get things from the car. ¬†Nor could I regain access to the apartment if I left. ¬†Also helpfully in the car were Simon’s diaper bag and the umbrella stroller (Jeff calls it a “parachute”) that Simon’s Grandma and Grandpa gave him for his birthday. ¬†And our big stroller would be a nightmare to maneuver on the train, not to mention once we reached the courthouse. ¬†So I couldn’t even walk to the train, pushing Simon in the 85* heat. ¬†And I couldn’t reschedule the lunch for another day, since without keys I can’t even take the dog out for potty.

 

So I wrapped Simon on my back (yay babywearing!), made a makeshift diaper bag using my favorite satchel (the one I’ve had since high school, that I also toted all over England), caked us both in hippie sunscreen, and we set out.

Poor sunny bebeh. ¬†I was going to put his old, too-small hat on him, but it wouldn’t even stay over his head. ¬†LARGE-HEADED CHILD. ¬†DEFINITELY JEFF’S.

 

Of course, as soon as the door closed behind me I remembered that I’d meant to change into my walking shoes, but instead I was stuck in some brand new (not broken in) flats. ¬†Real smart, yo.

 

Luckily, Simon conked out on the way:

and he has not yet developed the “magically becoming heavier when he falls asleep” feature that I understand many children possess. ¬†Which made it easier ūüėČ

 

The 2-mile walk to the train wasn’t so bad – we’ve done that walk a bunch, since the farmer’s market is right by the train station – but I usually have a stroller to pop Simon into when we get too hot. ¬†And it’s usually 6:30 instead of 11:00. ¬†The walk from Union Station to the courthouse wasn’t too big a deal, either. ¬†But then Jeff said we should go to this shawarma place by Little Tokyo, and it just sounded too good to pass up, so by that point I was getting a wee bit tired and cranky ūüėČ

 

All that traipsing around was worth it in the end:

My wrap was good, but the fries and that sauce were OMG RIDICULOUS. ¬†I just…I didn’t even know that the humble french fry could¬†be so delicious. ¬†I’m gonna be dreaming about these tonight. ¬†I also wanna try and recreate that dipping sauce, because I have hunch it would be amazing on falafel. ¬†I’m pretty sure it involves mayo, rooster sauce, and parsley, but heck if I know where to go from there. ¬†To the test kitchen! ūüėÄ

 

It turned out to be a good thing that I’d put together the ghetto diaper bag, because of course Simon pooped at lunch. ¬†We couldn’t find a changing table anywhere, though, so I ended up spreading my wrap on a bench outside and changing him next to a statue of some Japanese hero from the Holocaust or something. ¬†Then back onto my back he went, and we said goodbye to Jeff and began the long hike back home (this time with keys and hat!).

 

Picture me sitting on the train, leaning forward with a Simon peeping over my shoulder as I rock back and forth, trying to quiet him into a nap. Then picture a meth-y looking crazy guy. ¬†Crazy guy told me all about how smart Simon is (“I can always tell”), and that he’ll go far in life as long as “the devil don’t get him”. ¬†So y’all be on the lookout for the devil around my kid, eh? ;-P

 

The South Pasadena train station is conveniently located right across the street from my favorite coffeehouse, Buster’s. ¬†So I popped in for some provisions to last the trip home: a mango iced tea in my Klean Kanteen (SO GOOD, especially with just a wee bit of raw sugar shaken in). ¬†Simon fell asleep again as we were walking through the farmer’s market, and stayed out until the elevator ride up to our apartment. ¬†As soon as our butts hit the door I took off both our pants (LOL) and we hydrated via our respective favorite methods (iced tea and boob juice – you guess which is whose), and now he’s kicking around on the floor, clapping and feeding Joe’s O’s to his “bogbog”. ¬†And I need to think about getting dinner started.

 

Whew!