February did not kill me.

I hate February a little in the way that water is a smidge wet.  I’ve been actively trying to remember to pronounce the first R in the stupid month, web and it still sounds weird.  FebROOary.  Always sounds like it’s going to turn into Febrewawy, no doubt a favorite month of Elmer Fudd’s.  So there were no posts titled “HOLY CRAP THAT’S A LOT OF SNOW!”  And “Gee, it’s still snowing”, followed by “Oh my, more snow.  I wonder if my car will climb the driveway this time.”  And “Oh look, our 40′ section of gutter appears to have fallen off the house and taken out my patio table in the process.  Who needs silly 2yr old gutters, anyway!  Hand me another dishtowel, will ya?  We’ve got another leak in the kitchen.”

I’ve made it to March and nobody died, which is always a good thing.  All progress on anything house related has ground to a halt.  I promised myself I didn’t have to do a thing as long as I’m back to school.  A PhD is looking more appealing every time I contemplate finishing painting the stairway.  I toyed briefly with the thought of giving up knitting for Lent, but in the same way that I toy with driving past my exit on the turnpike on my way to work in the morning and driving straight on ’til Florida.  My brain likes to come up with crazy scenarios like that to amuse me. 

Knock on wood the girls are both plague free.  Claire is still impressed with having had a fever for three days and talks fondly about the good ol’ days (six weeks ago) when she Had A Fever.  She’s registered for preschool and asks how much longer until fall at least once a week.  Anna has pierced ears now and is wearing ladybug earings today.  She’s got a thing for ladybugs.  She gives them baths (drowns them) and water to drink (drowning them) and plants to eat (I don’t believe ladybugs eat poinsettia leaves, but I could be wrong) and sneaks them to church (I also didn’t know ladybugs were Catholic).  It’s an improvement over the days when she had a collection of lovingly named pillbugs for her “friends.”

What dreams may come

Anna had a nasty cold this past weekend, approved and Claire caught it yesterday, ambulance only Claire got the bonus fever along with it.  Or maybe it’s a totally different virus and we can look forward to Anna glowing red hot in a few days, phlebologist too.  Poor kids!

When we put her to bed she was feeling warm, but she’d already been dosed with Tylenol, so off she went with a cup of water and instructions to call me if she needed anything.  (at which point Anna piped up with, “What about me?  I’m sick too!”)  Around 11:30 she woke up crying, miserable, and burning up.  Into bed with me she went, with more Tylenol and cool wet wash cloths and lullabyes and back rubbing.  I got her comfy (She was being a total bed hog – I spent the night on the outer 6″ of the mattress curled up with the Little Toaster that Could; Parenthood means not minding sleeping with a little vector of disease breathing all over your face) and settled down, she flung her arm over me and said, “I’m so glad I have my family back!”

Huh?  I have no idea what fever dreams were running through her head.  In the morning, bright-eyed, bushy tailed, and only moderately warm, she told me she dreamed about a fly that ate a frog.  Then Anna had to one-up her by claiming to have dreamed about crickets that ate people.

January reflections

We had Christmas! I bet you did too! (unless you celebrate something completely different, visit this site then I hope you had a happy whatever) Then we had two birthdays. Now my daughters are entirely too old. Then I had to go back to work. Then I got to be driven out of my mind by the byzantine process of attempting to return to / finish graduate school. It’s still a work in progress.

My 2009 in review
January: Girls turned 3 and 5; worked on the hall/stairway, store took up running
February: Played with dyeing wool, sale failed to finish stairway, Claire potty trained
March: Knit Autumn Rose, which I tend not to wear because I’m in a perpetual search for the perfect shirt to wear under it
April: Got excited about the early beautiful spring weather, singlehandedly painted the garage (no, I’m not bitter [anymore]); sewed Easter dresses for the girls
May: Annual awesome trip to MDSW; Ran in the Race for the Cure! Bought a new car; went camping
June: Started painting house (or was that May?) Bashed rear of new car into Mr. Unreserved’s car.
July: Got car fixed; continued painting; gave up running in favor of spending all waking free time on a ladder; Mr. Unreserved fixed the hole in the porch roof
August: Tried to paint, cursed the rain; knit socks for Dad’s birthday; Anna started kindergarten
September: Painted some more; went camping for Labor Day weekend; became as comfortable on top of the porch roof as I am standing on the porch underneath
October: Continued painting; sewed Halloween costumes, began Christmas dresses
November: Still painting, curse you, indian summer!; finished Christmas dresses; decided to return to grad school
December: Welcomed snow as it meant no more painting for 2009; resumed work on stairway, still didn’t finish; had very merry Christmas; wrangled futilely with grad school readmission process causing so much anxiety that I broke out in hives (my shins are itchy again today – it’s been a fun day)

My theme for 2010: Finish what you started.
I’d dearly love to be done with my MS degree by this time next year. I’d like to get the rest of the outside of the house painted, which should be doable. I’d love to have fewer unfinished projects, both house related and knitting related. Note that I did not say no unfinished projects. Just fewer. Projects are fun, but living in a perpetual state of unfinishedness (shut up spell check, it’s a word if I want it to be) gets tiring.

Who’s on first?

Anna is learning to read and enjoying it, medical which is great! The other night she was trying to read a picture book, help but most of the words were unfamiliar/difficult, side effects so she was spelling them out to me while I hung curtains.

“Mom, what does . . . W. . . H. . . A. . . T spell?”

“What.”

“W. . . H. . . -”

“No, Anna, I heard you. It spells ‘what’.”

“That’s what I asked you! What does W-H-A-T spell?!”

“WHAT. It spells the word ‘WHAT’” That is the word it spells!”

We got 4-5″ of snow here today, so the girls got to go out and play in the snow for the first time this winter. We put our tree up last night. Their time outside and ensuing hot chocolate warm-up was probably some of the only 45 minutes I didn’t spend telling them to leave the tree alone. Leave the ornaments alone. Put the ornaments back on the tree and leave them alone. Get out from behind the tree. Quit running around the house with the ornaments. They didn’t mess the tree this much when they were toddlers! Today marked the first of sixteen days I’ll be home for the holidays. Mr. Unreserved is betting they drive me up a wall by Tuesday. This Tuesday.

Parenting Milestone

Even though my eldest is about to turn six, viagra 60mg I still have moments that hit me in a “holy crap – I really am someone’s parent!” way.  Getting the letter from Anna’s teacher addressed to Mrs. Lastname was one of them.  Any time the girls are sick and clingy and I let them cough/spew germs all over me because I don’t care about getting sick myself as long as I can make them feel better is another.  I wonder if I’ll ever get completely over the wonder of having my very own kids?

We hit a parenting milestone Sunday evening – the first trip to the ER.  Anna and Claire were monkeying around on the living room floor.  Claire was trying to drag Anna up by her arm when Anna started screaming and cradling her now limp left arm.  From family history I suspected nursemaid’s elbow right away.  I called Mom to confirm, dysentery and it was off to the hospital. 

They took some x-rays as a precaution, dosage and we hung around for a bit reading National Geographic and spotting all the “the”s  (Anna’s favorite word to read).  Anna was very stoic; she admited to being afraid that getting her elbow fixed would hurt and she didn’t want to “yell or cry.”   When did my little girl turn so tough?  A very nice physician’s assistant popped Anna’s elbow back into position painlessly.  It didn’t quite take the first time, but a second manipulation set things right with an audible pop.  Anna got stickers from the hospital and a promised milkshake on the way home and all was right in the world again.

Little Bear said, “Mother Bear, I am cold. See the snow. . . “

So much of this year’s beautiful weather happened in October and November that we’ve hanging out on ladders until this month.  Fortunately the girls are old enough to entertain themselves fairly well while we work on the house.  One beautiful autumn day while I was hanging the 2nd refurbished storm door, anesthetist we had a visitor:

The butterfly turned out to be very friendly.  It hung out on the girls’ fingers by turn:

Anna found a dandelion and got to feed the butterfly lunch.  She got upset when we told her she could not take it in the house to watch a movie with her.  Even butterflies have their limits.

While I’m in picture mode, cure I’ll share a photo of the well-dressed Teddy.

Instead of having a gift exchange, doctor all the students in Anna’s class were to bring in an ornament for their tree.  Each child will get to bring home an ornament from their class party.  I found this little bear (he stands about 6″ tall) at the craft store, but he looked cold.  He wanted something to put on.  So I knit him a hat.  He was still cold, so I made him a sweater to go with it.  I hope he’s warm enough now, because I’m not making him snow pants.  He went off to Kindergarten and I hope one of Anna’s classmates enjoys him.  I might have to pick up a few more bears – he was fun to accessorize!  (plus Anna wasn’t happy about the concept of trading him in)

Apply desk to forehead

Weekend progress report:  Primed 1st story of kitchen side of house and dining room window.  Painted inside dining room storm door.  Got most of 1st coat of green paint on kitchen side door.  Removed kitchen door. 

Casualty:  One broken circular saw cord.  (Sawzall is already on disabled list from a previous project, youth health hopefully it’s just crud in the brushes)

Installed new kitchen door. 

  • Problem #1:  learned that kitchen addition to house has two layers of exterior siding, this thus rough opening is 5 1/2″ deep.  Door frame is 4 1/2″ deep.  Solution – remove brickmold, cheap add extra trim. 
  • Problem #2:  Interior drywall (2 inexplicable layers) is deeper than door trim and had been finished off with a metal strip attached to old door frame.  Solution – add extra trim, repair drywall. 
  • Problem #3:  Don’t have any more of the kitchen paint to repaint wall after drywall repair.  Solution – it’d make a lovely accent wall with a quart of some other color. 
  • Problem #4:  Idiot who bought door (me) figured it wouldn’t matter much that door is right-handed when old door was left-handed.  It looks/works fine unless you consider the fact that the open door will be in the middle of the room instead of against the wall.  Solution:  Try to convince self that it’s not really a problem.  Wake up at 4:00 a.m. and agonize over it for an hour.  Find left-handed door in stock at another store.  Try to convince husband that door should be swapped.  Discuss ethics of returning door.  Hope door fits in basement (where new door is also very much needed, unless you like doors that are literally part cardboard [long story]).  Wonder how to remove new door without sawzall.  Find sawzall schematics online. 

Casualty:  My sanity/wallet. 

Knitting progress:  Finished Alpine scarf!  Woot!  It only took me two years and seven months!  No, I did not work on it the whole time.  It spent a lot of time in time-out because it was very naughty.  I love knitting on slippery needles but learned the hard way that lace on slippery needles is not a good car project and it is inadvisable to knit lace while drinking around a campfire in the dark.  I could have knocked at least three months off if you discount the time I spent fixing mistakes.  Plus there was that time the cat chewed the yarn in half. . . anyway it’s done!  I blocked it last night (Lucy even failed to use it as a cat bed!).  The Alpaca with a Twist Fino blocked out nicely.  Before blocking I couldn’t tell there was silk in the yarn because it was so drapey and fuzzy, but after blocking it’s got a lovely drape to it and a body that I didn’t expect.  I wanted to take it to work and show it off, but I was afraid it would lose too much flatness.  I want to take pictures and show it to the knitters in my life before that happens.

Scientific progress goes boom

Two years ago Anna got to come to Bring Your Child to Work Day.  She doesn’t get to do that anymore because of one crochety higher-up, visit this but the sole year made an impact.  She wants to be a chemist “like Mommy” when she grows up.  I told her not to limit herself, sickness but I think it’s cute.  I can’t help encouraging her interest in science, order so last night we attended the annual Faraday Lecture.  Lots of things blew up.  Anna was delighted.  Claire got bored, but I expected as much.  Claire wants to be a firefighter. 

I attended the lecture three years ago by myself, I checked to make sure it was the 19th lecture back in 2006.  I could have sworn I was knitting on the Alpine scarf while waiting for the show to begin.  I remember it so clearly, the fine blue yarn getting briefly tangled in the zipper of my purse, the feeling of absolute geekdom of knitting lace while waiting for a chemistry lecture.  This blog tells me I didn’t start the scarf until 2007, roughly in April.  My brain has become autonomous and is making up its own history.

Claire fell asleep on the way home but when I put her to bed she drowsily insisted on a bed snack.  I knew she wouldn’t stay awake long enough to eat so much as a cracker, so I promised I’d bring her something.  She was back in dreamland by the time I returned from the kitchen, so I put the cup of dry cereal beside her bed and let her sleep.  This morning the first words out of her mouth were, “You left me a bedsnack!  I love it!  Thanks Mommy!”  Behold, I have invented the bedsnack fairy!

Paint paint paint paint and paint

The mysterious painter did show up yesterday, global burden of disease and is at this moment up in his big yellow bucket truck painting those bits of my house which I can not safely reach.  Which is awesome, except for the fact that it means I’ll be out there painting those bits that I can safely reach before the snow flies. 

We have learned that our house is sided with yellow pine.  This is good because “it lasts forever” due to a very high sap content but bad because it doesn’t hold onto paint as well as some woods might.  So we’ve noticed.

I’m up to the top border on Alpine Lace!  It’s only taken me forever and ever and ever! 

To finish my degree, I have to apply to be readmitted.  It also looks like I’ll be chosing a new advisor as the previous one was difficult to pin down.  This might mean that finishing this damned degree will take longer than I’ve anticipated, but at least it will be done.  I hope.   Maybe.  Someday.  Bleh.

Well whodathunk?

Guess who phoned last night?  The missing painter.  He claims he’s coming today.  Suddenly he wants to be paid in cash.  :: raises eyebrow ::  I am washing my hands of as much of the matter as possible.

Weekend progress report:  edged and mulched the stairway up the front yard.  It looks so tidy now!  It wants plantings and solar lights.  Prepped the dining room window for painting.  Painted and hung the dining room storm door, look installed knob/latch.  Woot!  I can leave the main door open and let sunshine stream in the storm door without the dog running outside!  Dog is vexed.  Painted dining room door – gosh I love our accent color.  Dog is painted with accent color.  Stupid dog.  Finished Christmas mittens for girls, recipe put them away with coats so they don’t disappear as Claire is enamored with hers.  Made significant progress on Alpine Lace scarf that I started forever ago, gleeful at the concept of knitting something with no deadline or recipient.