Tag Archives: life

March…didn’t happen?

It’s amazing how just when you get in a nice little groove with your favorite toddler, they decide to go and screw everything up.  In Simon’s case, this means dropping his nap.

 

That’s right, I now have a 20-month-old who, most days, is awake continuously from 8:00am to 8:00pm.  A 20-month-old who will not be dissuaded from this schedule, who would rather scream for an hour as I cuddle him, rub his tummy and sing every song known to man than deign to close his eyes at midday and potentially miss something Exciting.  And, not coincidentally, he is now a 20-month-old who nods off in the backseat when we go to pick Jeff up from work, and who has decided to fuss and hit and bite his way through the past several evenings.  I WONDER WHY.

 

Which means that today I’ve bought 10 minutes of silence this way:

I ordered a breadbox from Amazon the other day and it arrived this afternoon in a huuuuuuuuuuuge box.  The better to repurpose, eh?  Whoosh whoosh whoosh!

 

…aaaaaaand he’s moved on.  Now we’re back to staring at me and tugging at my sleeve in hopes I’ll let him go wreak havoc on the pantry.

 

Good thing he’s cute.

 

We’ve been up to a LOT of good adventures these past few weeks.  Rather than yammer about them in some huge blog post, you may as well just check out my Flickr photostream.  It’s not like a tremendous amount of narration is required anyway 😉

 

Jeff and I had been hoping to catch a matinee on Saturday but our sitter cancelled on us at the last minute so a change in plans was required.  We ended up making the trek up to Cleveland and visiting the science center.  It was well worth the trip 🙂

 

(That’s Jeff’s new profile pic on FB, too :))

 

Simon learned all about the building blocks of DNA:

And I impressed Jeff by remembering each base pair.  9th grade science FTW?  Though to be fair, I’m not sure DNA had been discovered yet when he was in high school 😉

 

The science center’s little kid play area had a ball pit with all sorts of buckets and pulleys (and a few kids who were definitely not under 6), so we plopped Simon in the middle of it and stood back to see what he thought:

Clearly he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.  He just grabbed a few balls and froze, while dozens of others whizzed around him in the melee of tiny humanity.

 

The ramp/tube contraption off in the corner was more his speed 😉

Jeff and I are pretty sure he’d still be there sending that tennis ball whizzing around, if we hadn’t dragged him away after, oh, 6 or 7 hours.

 

But he was OK, because after that we found a slide!

He climbed the stairs all by himself (with Daddy spotting) and slid down all on his own, over and over.

 

He was a little trepidatious at first but made a friend who helped him along.

 

We escaped the kid’s area eventually, though, and found the physics exhibit that was a little bit more interesting for all of us.  I LOVE how much hands-on stuff this science center had, and how even on a snowy Saturday afternoon it wasn’t too crowded.

 

Planetary atmosphere simulations are still a liiiiiiiiittle bit above his level, though. 😉

 

But drums aren’t!

 

And this giant wall of gears was pretty much the best thing ever.

 

Of course, on the way back to Akron we got caught in an end-of-March “fuck you” from the weather (actually it was a quite pretty – 3-4″ of snow that pretty much melted on Sunday) that made for a little bit of nervous driving, as the highway department hadn’t prepped the roads at all.

 

This week has been pretty busy, but also low-key.  Errands (I went to Home Depot yesterday morning and got the supplies for a couple kid projects, and some grass seed and stuff to try and make this place have a modicum of curb appeal for when the homeowners list it for sale this summer), laundry, the usual.  It was supposed to rain all day on Tuesday but turned out to be almost 70* and sunny, so I was able to hang out two loads of laundry on the line (first time since, what, November?) and Simes and I went on a long walk that culminated in approximately 45 hours of swinging at the park.  I made him push his own stroller, because I am cruel like that.

 

It’s pouring rain all day today so we probably won’t get to go out (maybe to stomp some puddles in our dragon boots if it lets up a bit), but I got this picture yesterday, which proves that spring really IS coming to northern Ohio 🙂

Hopefully this weekend the weather will cooperate and I can rake up the last of the leaves, maybe get that grass seed down, and get things ready for spring.  Until then, I’m going to go make some energy bars with my sous chef and maybe dig into that blueberry bread I baked yesterday for Jeff’s breakfasts.  And wait for Simes to drop face-first into a dead sleep in the middle of the playroom at 6:00 because THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU’RE 20 MONTHS OLD AND DON’T NAP.  Ahem.

 

Wish me luck 😉

I should be sewing

I talked to Aunt Judy yesterday and she told me that the quilt tops I’m sending her way are next on her list, which means I need to get my butt in gear and, you know, actually send them.  Which further means (check out my amazing reasoning skills) that I need to finish the one, rather than just gaze lovingly at the stack of fabric on my sewing shelf. But that would be too easy, wouldn’t it?  So instead I’ll just sit here and piddlefart around and eat grapes until Simon wakes up (at which point I’ll kick it into gear and start sewing.  Promise ;-))

 

I just cut myself a thick slice of that bread from Tuesday’s dough pic, but then completely neglected to take a photo before slathering it in Nutella and cramming it in my gaping maw. So, sorry.  But also yum.  Seriously, go check that out if you want a hearty-yet-soft bread recipe.

 

Speaking of food (since apparently that’s all I’m capable of at the moment), have you seen the Italian Wonderpot recipe going around Facebook lately?  It really seems too good to be true.  So in the name of Science!, last night I made it for dinner.  Here’s an awful picture just a few minutes before it was ready to serve (you let it simmer down until most of  the liquid is evaporated/thickened):

That’s a horribly unappetizing picture, I know, but the actual dinner was pretty good.  I used whole wheat spaghetti instead of fettuccini, and stirred in some garlic chicken sausage that I’d browned in my cast iron, just before serving.  Our family’s consensus was that it was all right, but grossly under-seasoned (this even after I upped all the seasonings).  Next time I think I’ll used Trader Joe’s diced and fire-roasted tomatoes instead of plain diced tomatoes, will add more salt, and maybe 16 oz of spinach instead of just 8 oz (the benefit of 8 oz, though, is that I could convincingly tell Jeff the green flecks were just herbs ;-)).  I also think it would be good with Trader Joe’s basil linguine.  But all in all it was a good, easy weeknight dinner (with enough leftovers to keep us in lunches for a week!).  Add a side of roasted asparagus and a good salad and you’re set.

 

Yesterday during the day we made our pilgrimage up to Cleveland for Trader Joe’s, and my total was about 1/3 less than usual (even though I bought the ingredients for 10-12 meals, just like always).  Part of that is because they didn’t have a few things on my list, but mostly I think it’s because I’m a lot less inclined to dawdle and loiter and browse when I have a tiny tornado pushing the shopping cart than when he’s snugly wrapped on my back.  He was OMG SUPER NOT INTERESTED in making the trek home, though, and I didn’t feel like facing a 35-minute car ride of screaming, so we hit up Panera for soup and a bagel (and then a diaper and some boobies) before heading back down to Akron.  He slept in the car but only fitfully: overall, definitely not his most satisfying morning.  I think it may make more sense to do subsequent adventures in the late afternoon (bonus: then Jeff can haul in the groceries when he gets home from work.)

 

Today was the penultimate storytime of the late-winter session, and it was a little bit smaller group than usual.  Possibly not coincidentally, Simon warmed up a lot more quickly than he has in weeks past.  Today he was actually brave enough to dance with the librarian for a moment, and grab his own shaker out of the music basket.  Progress!  He even pitched a fit when it was time to leave, which was embarrassing but also sort of reassuring.  The librarian is going to be out on maternity leave starting in May, and with Garfunkel coming in July the spring session may be our last.  I’ll miss it!

 

After a quick stop at Chipotle for a mama-baby date, we went to a new kids’ consignment shop that just opened a few weeks ago (the owner is a young mom who’s been advertising it on the Facebook baby/kids resale group I follow).  She had a pretty large amount of stock, but nothing much that I felt we needed, and most everything was WalMart/Target brands anyway. I got him one little Gymboree shirt for this summer, but think I’ll have to head back down to Once Upon a Child (down in Canton) for a few other things he needs.

 

Well this one isn’t going to win any “fascinating blog post” awards, is it?  Have a sleepy Simon by way of apology:

 

And now, of course, he’s awake and I’ve got to get my butt off the couch.  Until next time!

Ahhhh

Many thanks to everyone for the comments, Facebook posts, texts and emails congratulating us on our  impending addition!  We are so stinkin’ excited to meet Garfunkel.  Based off the pancake theory of birth order, this one should be even better than Simon! (Nooooooooooo)

 

Speaking of my most favorite bigboy, I juuuuust got him down for a nap.  He’s having a very Toddler day today, complete with “tired but don’t want to sleep” fussiness, “not THAT water bottle!” pickiness, and also adorable fun at every turn.  So I’m consoling myself with an Amy’s pizza pocket and some veggie chips for lunch.

 

He’s got this new trick that I tried SO hard to get a picture of, but completely failed.  We call it the “demon imp” face.  He pulls it with no warning, and it’s the most laugh-out-loud ridiculous combination of furrowed brow, sly smile, and upcast glance.  It’s just…oh I have got to take a picture.  He did it once at dinner last night and Jeff and I both just DIED, then at breakfast he did it again.  We were Skyping with my mom this morning and he started doing it on demand, egged on by Mom and me cackling every time he pulled the face.

 

Every time I head into the kitchen to work now (even if it’s just to wipe down the counters or make a snack), Simon follows me in and pushes a kitchen chair up to the counter to help me cook.  And he won’t take no for an answer.  He helped me throw together our dinner salad the other day:

 

And yesterday we made some jam bars.  He tested them out, taking his role quite seriously, this morning:

 

He’s been a clingy sleeper lately; I’ve had trouble extricating during his naps (there was a 45-minute intermission in my post here when he roused just long enough to get me thoroughly stuck).  But it’s hard to mind too much; before long I won’t be able to nap under him all the time like this.

His little head still smells so nice.  Sweet and salty and warm.

 

Today is National Frozen Yogurt day so I think we’re going to run to Menchie’s for dessert tonight.  (I’m going to do Indian food from the TJ’s frozen section for dinner).  If you Like Menchie’s on Facebook you’ll get a coupon for 6 oz free, today only.  Sweet!  (Or tart)

 

And now I’m going to try and finish folding laundry before my helper wakes up.

 

Happy Thursday!

Good stuff!

We’ve had a fun past couple of days!

 

Most excitingly, Jeff came home last night.  As soon as he walked in the door Simon started bouncing up and down and screeching and giggling, and then he was stuck to Daddy for the rest of the evening.  Before Jeff even had his coat off, Simon had dragged him back to the playroom and was trying to entice him into a game of “Big Bear Eats Baby Tummies”.  Because apparently I just can’t play that right 😉

 

And for what it’s worth, Jeff insists that he didn’t sleep well in that fancy hotel bed all alone; that he really does sleep better balanced precariously on the edge of the bed with Simon’s stinky diaperbutt in his face and my icecube feet wedged between his knees.  Even though I have trouble believing it, it was nice of him to say. 😀

 

For once, I was grateful for Roxie’s alarm system yesterday afternoon; I was expecting some fluffy mail and didn’t want to let it languish out of my embrace one moment longer than necessary.  Behold!

That’s a dyed Anthracite Hemp Indio 6 (40% hemp) that I bought off the big swap on FB.  I am madly in love with the color.  This isn’t quite accurate, but it’s more or less right:

I don’t know who the dyer was; I’m at least the 4th (and final! :)) owner of this wrap.  The lady I bought it from thinks she was the third owner.  The real color is a lot more dimensional and luminous than in that braided picture. It’s deep and vibrant and doesn’t contrast a lot with the black weft.  I LOVE it.

 

Simon was positively weightless in this thing; even in a super quick’n’crappy ruck/BWCC hybrid thing (does that even have a name?).  Usually he doesn’t come running when I get out a wrap (though he’ll sit patiently and be cooperative while I get him up there), but yesterday he started hopping up and down before I even got it around his shoulders and supermanned him up.  Maybe this is his new favorite too? 😉

 

I wore him for an hour’s worth of housework and puttering around, and apart from a couple little adjustments (I had trouble getting him in a good seat), it was totally effortless babywearing.  Like a feather!

 

This is my first hemp wrap, and it’s really interesting.  I think I’m still a linen girl at heart (especially since thick smushy Nati linen is a thing), but NOTHING makes Simon feel as weightless as this hemp!  It’s a little unyielding so I know I would’ve found it frustrating as a beginner, but it’s substantial and blankety enough that it’s fairly easy to spread my passes, etc.  It sort of reminds me of my SNN, actually, only more supportive.  If my SNN is cheesecake (a little temperamental but rich and filling), then this is an oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookie:  hearty and unpretentious but still sweet.

 

Sorry.  Enough wrap geekery.  I’m just happy 🙂

 

Now that Simes is really over that cold from a couple weeks ago, we decided to venture back to storytime this morning.  (ie the germ pit that infected us in the first place).

 

I LOVE seeing him interact with other kids.  When he’s just surrounded by adults and is snug on Jeff or me, Simon is flirtatious and engaging and charming (we joke that his catchphrase is, “I’m cute and I know it!” a la LMFAO).  But when we’re around other kids, he’s a lot more reserved.  Not standoffish, exactly, just a little more inclined to hang back and observe, rather than jump into the morass.  I can tell you that he’s not scared or tense, just…apart.  After a few minutes he’ll warm up, step by step, (usually checking in with me every couple moments) until he’s adjacent to the action, but he keeps the oddest look on his face: like he’s not quite sure what to make of it, these babies with their silly fumbling ways and loud noises.  He participates in parallel play and cooperates with the group for songs, dances, etc., so it’s all totally developmentally appropriate. He’s just not a social butterfly where those odd “toddler” creatures are concerned.

 

Wait, I have the perfect metaphor:

(source)

I can’t wait ’till he learns how to write field notes 😉

 

In a complete non sequitor, guess who has discovered pockets?

So nonchalant. 😛

 

(When I took his coat off him, he stuck his hands in the bib of his overalls and has been walking around like that ever since.  Like a tiny little farmer!)

 

Anyway, storytime today was all well and good until the giant parachute came out and another kid bumped into him, sending Simon dramatically crashing to the floor in a most theatrical fashion.  My usual policy with that sort of thing is to take care of his emotional needs (dry the tears, y’know), but then throw him right back up onto the saddle.  I don’t want him to be one of those whiny little porcelain kids.  But for whatever reason today he refused to be thrown (metaphorically or otherwise), and every time I tried to set him down he just whimpered and pointed to the door.  So we left storytime early, got a few books, and headed home.

 

Once we got away from the other  chimps  toddlers, Simon quickly remembered that he’s a big boy and rest is for weenies.  But joke’s on him, because I have magic boobs.  So HA!

Which means  I’d better get in and figure out what I’m fixing for dinner.  Yay!

 

Have a good rest of today, y’all.

Don’t get used to it

Making good on my half-assed attempt to get back in the swing of blogging.  As promised, I’m sitting here with a sleeping Simon upstairs and a cup of tea.  And a caramel bar. (Ssh!)

 

We had a pretty quiet afternoon yesterday.  Lots of stories (Pigs to the Rescue!) and building with bristle blocks.  Nothing too big.  Oh, and of course music time 😉

(I just realized his eyes look crossed there.  I promise, they’re not.)

 

I’m lucky that Jeff doesn’t travel for work any more frequently than he does, but it still sucks when he does go.  The evenings just aren’t right without him around!  But I wanted to keep as much of our routine as we could anyway, so I cooked a quick dinner (rather than defaulting to grilled cheese or PB&J, as is my wont).  And then, because Jeff wasn’t around to go spastic about the inevitable mess, Simon and I decided to practice our fork skills:

Watching him wrangle one the size of his arm convinced me to order a kid-sized set off Amazon; it should arrive tomorrow.

 

Once I got Simon down I settled in with some mango tea and knitting and Netflix, which was nice, but I’d rather have been bitching about Jeff monopolizing the TV with MLB ’13 😉

 

As predicted, I did not sleep at ALL last night.  Not only am I quite certain there are burglars lurking about the neighborhood and squirrels with machetes in the attic, but Simon has really kicked up his night nursing.  Jeff and I are hoping to get him sleeping in his own bed before too long (our double bed is just too small for two adults and a toddler) but with him still needing the boobs every hour I’m not sure how that’s going to work out.  I don’t mind nursing him down, but I’d love it if he could settle himself during subsequent wakeups.  We shall see.

 

This morning I got up and looked around the house and thought “I cannot spend one more entire day here.  No sirree.”  So after breakfast we loaded up.  Due to it being -4* right now, all the schools are closed.  So I figured that the library, fast food playplaces and mall play areas are all probably MADHOUSES, and I really don’t want either of us to get knocked down with another cold yet, so I decided to steer clear of kid places and go to Salvation Army and Home Depot instead (lol).  So we went to SA and I got a big blanket to throw down as a fingerpainting drop cloth, and a couple kids’ books (including a paperback of The Midwife’s Apprentice.  I loved that book in 3rd-4th grade.  Do y’all remember it?)  Then in Home Depot we wandered around a bit and looked at all the big things and guys with flat trolleys full of lumber, and I’m sure it made Simon feel very grown-up and manly.  A quick run into Aldi for blueberries and then West Point Market for fancy cheese and a cup of soup (talk about grocery-shopping whiplash!), and we’re back home.  And no one got frostbite and I won’t be chasing the dog around our hedge maze with an axe.  Win-WIN-win.

 

Now I’m out of caramel bar, and Simon is still conked out.  I don’t know what was in that cookie that the bakery lady at West Point Market gave Simon (quaaludes?), but I ain’t complainin’.  To the knitting!

 

Happy Tuesday, y’all.  Stay warm!

 

 

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 😀

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 🙂

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!

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 🙂  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 🙂

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