Saturday, March 29, 2008

Kate received a tent that fits over her bed from Santa this past Christmas. A mere 3 months later the thing was completely falling apart. There was only one thing to do. From Eddie Bauer we went to Sleeping Beauty. Of course. It required us to do some rearranging in the bedroom, which suited Sarah just fine, as it granted her better access to the Hello Kitty CD player. Big button-pusher, that Sarah. The entire change was greeted with general merriment.

Well, mostly. Lola didn't really care at all.

At around 9:00, a couple hours after setting up the princess bed, we heard Kate wailing. I ran up to see what was the cause. I found her buried in gauzy pink, the satiny canopy of the princess bed atop her whimpering head. It looked something like this:

She was positively devastated, so I made every effort not to laugh at the sight of her. I unearthed her, all damp with tears, and did a temporary safety pin fix to the cheapass piece of crap canopy, hung it back up and soothed her royal highness back to sleep. I will have to sew a patch and a reinforced loop into that thing and hope for the best, but princesses of this age seem to have some difficulty understanding "stop pulling on that thing!" This is likely to end badly.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'm cold, put a sweater on. For the love of GOD.

There are several regulars at my gym who are perfectly comfortable wandering nude around the locker room. I am not one of them. I envy them a little, I wish I were so comfortable with myself I could just air dry after my shower. I still use the method I developed in 7th grade gym class of putting my underwear on under my towel and then putting my bra on on top of my towel so that when I am inevitably forced to remove my towel I'm already half dressed. I don't really know why I do this, it's just a habit, but I know other women are like me because when I taught Ann Bushman this method (in 7th grade gym class) she was genuinely grateful.

There's a woman whose workout schedule is about 15 minutes ahead of my own. Each day when I head to the shower, I pass her standing in front of the public vanity stark naked, drying her hair. Today, as I awaited my frothy Starbucks beverage, she came in for a cup o' joe. Because she's usually at the gym before me, I never see her working out. I only see her standing in the locker room naked or, sometimes, getting dressed. As we smiled at each other in greeting it occurred to me that this was the first time I'd ever seen her fully clothed. I couldn't stop myself thinking "I know what kind of underwear you're wearing" because she's always at the undies stage when I'm returning from the shower. The slight awkwardness of it caused me to inadvertently imagine all the Starbuck's customers in their underwear and I knew instantly that using that tactic in attempt to put myself at ease in a public speaking situation would never work for me. It was all too horrible. I looked pleadingly at the barista thinking "just give me the latte, just do it. NOW" and when she finally did, I hustled out into the cold where everyone was wearing bulky coats. What a relief.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Progress! More construction photos

For this project, we're moving a lot of windows. They've gotten as far as removing them, and putting up temporary walls in the holes, but for now it just looks like we're having all the windows in the house taken out because we fear government spies. We do fear government spies, but that's because we know they don't need windows to get in.

A roof has grown up over the course of just a few days, as well. No more raining in the house!As some guys were building the roof, some other guys were putting up
walls and some other guys were putting in plumbing. One guy was supervising and some guys weren't doing anything at all.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


This is Dave. Legally, Dave is my nephew and I refer to him as such but he's only 3 years my junior. Dave is in town for his spring break, trying to decide conclusively what to do with the rest of his life. Steve has filled Dave's schedule with meetings with every artist/designer/architect he could think of because this is the lean he's taking. Interestingly, he's the exact same age as Chris and has taken a somewhat similar journey down the What Will I Be When I Grow up road and is also finishing up classes at a community college and preparing to head to a university. I don't think they've ever met, but Jeremiah and I agree they'd get along like a house on fire. In between all these meetings, we're actually getting to visit with Dave, which is very nice because we usually just never see him.

Sunday Steve and Joy had a cookout in celebration of Dave's visit. The weather was gorgeous and the food was great. Steve sent me these pictures of our kids at the cookout. Contemplative Kate and Sporty Sarah!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Rock n Roll kids

Jeremiah approached the concessions stand at Variety Playhouse at 2:30 in the afternoon and said "Hi, I'd like one beer, a Rice Krispy Treat and two juice boxes please", thus beginning Kate & Sarah's very first rock concert - the They Might Be Giants Kids' Show. Kate, of course, wore her princess dress. When we walked in the venue and handed our tickets to the security guy he said to Kate "oh my, don't you look beautiful!" and she, to my unbridled delight, actually curtsied and sweetly said "thank-you!". He looked at me with that tight-lipped, raised eyebrow expression of impression and I wasn't even able to be cool, I just beamed back at him. The man standing just behind him handed Kate a giant foam "we're number one!" hand on which the band's name had been printed. He handed one to Sarah, too. We were ready.

We found some seats and saved spots for Jeremiah's friend Kenny and his family - they have a daughter about Kate's age named Ella. Right away, Sarah over-did it on the apple juice and puked all over my jeans (lightweight). In true rocker fashion, she went straight back to partying. Ella and Kate shared a seat while we waited for the band to begin. The place was filled with 30-something parents and their kids, it was the most amusing pre-show gathering I'd ever seen. I told Kate, pointing to the area in the front, "when the show starts, I'll take you down there to dance if you'd like". She nodded and I couldn't be sure she was getting it; she had a very deer-in-the-headlights look about her. Sure enough, though, the house lights dimmed and the band took the stage...the crowd went wild. As they started to play the Famous Polka, Kate stood up, grabbed my hand and squealed "come on! I wanna go dance!" I walked down the aisle to the front with her and she found a spot and immediately began to dance, like she'd been to 100 concerts (all of them jam bands, this kid has danced like a deadhead since she had even the slightest control over her own movements.)Eventually, we had our entire family and Kenny, his wife Christie and Ella all down there dancing. Suddenly, Sarah discovered her friend from her daycare class, Alexia. They greeted each other like old friends and danced together for nearly the entire show. I can't recall at exactly what point the mounds of confetti dropped from the ceiling, but it really made the show complete. The kids all went nuts. They spent the remainder of the concert scooping the fallen confetti up in their tiny hands and throwing it at each other while giggling gleefully.

Prior to the show I'd said I expected puppets. It seemed there would be no puppet until (!) they brought out Atlanta's own Homestarrunner! He bandied a few jokes about with the Johns and then sang "I am not your broom" with them. Kate loved him. I prefer his nemesis, Strongbad, but it was still a great bit.

The show ended and the band left the stage to thunderous applause. I was fearful for a moment that Kate was a little overwhelmed by all the clapping. I knelt down beside her and explained that if we clapped loud and long enough they might come back and play more songs, and she immediately joined in the cacophony. And out they came, expecting, it seemed, to play just 2 more songs, but they ended up playing 5 or 6 because a storm rolled in with another tornado warning for Decatur and it was hailing and lightning again. Just our luck! We were trapped in a cinderblock building with no windows and a fabulous band to entertain us, not even aware of the potential doom all around us. It passed without major incident and we left. When we left it was still raining quite a lot but Kate and Sarah both thought it was hilarious that they were getting soaked so that worked out well, too.

I've been to a lot of concerts in my time, but I think I can safely say, excluding some pretty hazy memories, that the They Might Be Giants Kids' Show was the most fun I've ever had at a show. For one thing, with the bulk of the audience being under the age of 8, no Tall Concert Guy! But really, TMBG was awesome. I am still aglow with the warm affection for those guys for coming to our town and making my little girls so very happy.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

We're Oooookay

Bit of rough weather last night. What no one but the AJC seems comfortable conclusively calling a tornado hit downtown, about 6 miles west of us last night.

We're fine. Our framing is fine. I will confess to a touch of full-on panic when I heard the news of the tornado warning and we looked outside to see the quintessential tornado sky. The clouds were that perfect shape and color, with the bright linings and the crystal clear patch of starry sky between them...and the yellowish hue. When I looked up, it was as though I was a little girl again, standing in the front yard with my mom who, inexplicably, was pulling some weeds from the flower bed as the warning siren sounded and the storm moved in at what looked like a break-neck speed. Usually when we had tornado watches in Indiana, we'd pile in the van and head to our neighbor's house because they had a basement. Not just a basement, but one filled with games and toys and a pool table as well as a ping pong table. I adored tornado watches as a child.

There were a couple times in my memory when warnings turned into watches so quickly there was no time to get to the neighbors' house. I recall once sitting together in the dank crawl space which had about 3' of head room while we waited out the storm. Another time we all huddled on the floor of the kitchen, which was in the middle of the house and, though open to the living and dining rooms, windowless. We all sat there with pillows over our heads until the storm was over. I thought it was a hoot.

Last night, watching the storm move toward us at 33 miles per hour, I was less amused. I was thinking of the giant, old-growth oak trees in our front yard and the fact that because our second floor is just a finished attic, the only thing between those very heavy trees and the squishy heads of my children was a very thin layer of roof. I contemplated evacuating them to the basement...I'd have to wake them up and scare the crap out of them to do that... As the storm hit us and the hail dinged the windows I went up there and looked out the window at the trees. They weren't even swaying; there was not a lot of wind, only the non-stop lightning seemed a threat. I considered the knot in my stomach as I thought of how my own parents must have felt when we were all huddled on the kitchen floor with nothing but pillows to protect us. I still get a good dose of delight from a good storm, but it's not quite as blissful as my childhood ignorance had been.

Happily the storm skidded past us very quickly and Jeremiah and I found ourselves on the front porch, watching the light show off in the east. The first phone call we received this morning was from our contractor. We all really lucked out.

How Max keeps her fluff at its fluffiest

Friday, March 14, 2008


They had to cut out early due to heavy rain, but most of the framing on the addition was erected today. Somehow, I arrived home before Jeremiah, who was picking up the girls today. When they got home I was out in the addition, checking out just how much space we'd have in the bedroom once the bed's in there. It's a very small room. I had the measuring tape down on the ground and was considering the space (not bad, actually) when Kate, utterly beside herself, came running onto the now-framed slab. "Can I have a hug and a kiss?" I asked, crouching to receive her when she came running into my arms. "It's bigger! It's bigger!" she yelped, breathlessly, and avoided my embrace to run around the addition. I can't blame her. On the inside, I was doing the exact same thing. Here are some photos of our mud pit.

So, just a refresher here. What once was this:

Is currently this:

Here's our new bedroom:
Lola is standing in the doorway between the little hall that will have our closet on one side and the new laundry room on the other. At the end, where I stood to take this picture, will be the new master bathroom. You can't get much of a feel from just studs, of course, but if you look closely you can see the pipe at the end for the toilet and the pipe in the middle for the shower...squint hard, you'll be able to imagine it!

Here's Sarah discovering what becomes of her hands (and face and shoes and pants...) when she jumps in every available puddle. Kate is not pictured because she fell down during her excitement, got covered in mud and rain water and insisted on going inside to change into her princess dress.

The currently uncovered and unframed portion of slab you see here will soon be our screened in porch, while the mud pit will eventually become a patio. Or something. Or maybe we'll decide we really love the mud pit, I don't know.