1.30.2015

Farewell January Haiku Friday

Trying to be zen
About all this construction
'Cause the end is near
***
Working with family
And dealing with money stuff
Is pretty stressful
***
By Valentine's Day
 This will be a memory
And we'll have moved on

1.29.2015

Household Happiness

 Wednesday was pajama day at Casey's school. I picked him and the rest of the Fridays up and we headed to Lowe's to pick out paint for the new playroom. These two driving the shopping cart is so rad to me. Love my family.
 Here's what we picked and the progress that was made yesterday. I'm so happy! I love it. They're putting the floor in today and I should be able to move furniture back in this weekend. I'm so excited to have a place for the toys taking over my house. 
 This is the floor, by the way. It's tile that looks like wood. I love it.
 Other rooms were painted yesterday, too! Our laundry room is back together but that's boring and nobody needs to see that. But look! This is the wall where mirrors used to live, always covered with children's kisses and fingerprints. No longer!
This here is the tile that will make my shower. Those rocks are the floor, the tile under it will be the shower itself and the bottom accent tiles will go in the built in shelf and make a wee border around the shower. This was supposed to be delayed until mid-February but materials arrived early and they're starting tomorrow! I should have my house back together by the end of next week, one month from the time this whole mess began. Hooray!

1.28.2015

Some Humpday Weekend Pics

 I mocked my boss for sending me a picture of himself in a sleeveless tee when I was simultaneously doing demo in a sleeveless tee, no room for mocking. This picture could not be worse. That's me putting duct tape on my mirrored walls, no small feat.
 Small pox in the form of tomato seeds
 Mr. Fever Face
 Husband photo bombed my progress shot of the remains of the mirrored wall. WEIRD
And then we had this glorious sunset. BOOM

1.27.2015

Christa Tuesday - 49 Weeks

It is the second week of Christa's eleventh month. I just sent out the e-vite to her very first birthday party because before I know it, she will be one and these posts will be a thing of the past. Let's see what she's been up to:
  • She says "baba" for bottle and when I show it to her she gets very excited.
  • She "sings" along with Let It Go and by sings I mean basically hollers.
  • She loves to hug her brother.
  • She "goes nigh nigh."
  • She throws balls and can almost say the word ball.
  • "Mama" is a constant sounds now.
  • She takes about 5-6 steps at a time before she plops on her butt.
  • She is still a great eater and loves berries most.
  • She loves to throw laundry from the basket or clothes from her drawers onto the floor.
  • She's obsessed with all the things under the bathroom sink and in the baking shelf of our kitchen cabinets. Oh, and Tupperware too.
  • She has a wee tooth coming in right now so has been up a couple times a night lately. And teething means EVERYTHING MUST GO IN HER MOUTH AT ALL TIMES.
Let me just reiterate that this child is constantly under foot and is as fast as lightning. She is in everything all the time. She is exhausting. It's a good thing she is so darn adorable.

1.23.2015

Looking Up Haiku Friday

Things are happening
Workers coming this weekend
To rebuild my house
***
Insurance paid up
The final sum was quite nice
Will cover it all
***
We're tearing things down
And making it lots better
I sure love my house

1.22.2015

Nature

Before the kids were born, I used to walk about three miles a day almost every day after work. Husband and I or a friend and I would hike on the weekends regularly. Somehow, trying to convince a 4-year old to actually walk is a task upon itself. Then you have to make sure you have all the things a baby could need and a stroller and snacks... the list goes on and on. Sometimes spontaneity is a little more fun than actually having to think about and plan a hike. On MLK day, I left work early and after the workers came to the house, I insisted that the family and I take advantage of the afternoon and the sunshine and we rolled out to hike in Camarillo, just outside of the wastewater treatment plant of all things. It was glorious and therapeutic and just the best thing we could have done. There are few things a bit of fresh air, sunshine and dirt can't heal.

 Bridge over troubled waters
 Lazy bee weighed down with pollen
 Chemtrail
 A flute?
 Casey took this!
 Family selfie
 Tossin' rocks into the creek
Giving up on walking
Happy to have her shoes off

1.21.2015

Asbestos Removal In Pictures

Remember that scene in ET when Elliott and his tiny alien friend are all sick and quarantined? Yeah. That's how I feel about my house.
Here's what's left of our bar/spare room. We'll be demolishing the actual bar shortly.
 This is the door to the garage which is right next to Tutti's room.
This is the thing blowing out asbestos I guess. Neat.
 This is what is left of the wall that had that hardly noticeable wet spot on the molding.
 This is the other side that leads into our garage.
 This is the garage.
 Here's a spooky shot of the blow dryers.
 And here's "Little Miss Into Everything" checking on what I'm doing under the drapery of plastic sheeting. Isn't she helpful?

My main problem with all of this, aside from the obvious inconvenience and cost, is that the left hand doesn't seem to know what the right hand is doing. They sent a guy to tell me about the wall removal and he told me to pack up the stuff in the bar - which was a bunch of tzotchkes, books, CDs and DVDs - so they could remove the furniture for wall removal the next day. I went home half day and packed like a mad woman and put everything in the garage. The next day the mover/packer people came and said they were supposed to do all of the packing, brought boxes and extra help and everything. Awesome.
So the furniture and washer and dryer were removed and on Saturday the guys came to quarantine the house and remove the walls that had the asbestos. They said the people would show up that afternoon to get the drying process done. No one called, no one showed. Sunday either. So on Monday I called at 10 a.m. and told them to send someone. Those guys showed up at 11 but probably wouldn't have if I hadn't called. Those guys then wondered why they were there to set up dryers because shouldn't that have been done already and I told them I had no idea what the heck was going on. They left while we were on our hike but when we came home those blowers were drying.
That night the company called and said they wanted to come at 8 a.m. to check on the dryers they had just set up. I'm taking a lot of time off work so I was not amused to have to do it again. Then on the way to work yesterday they called and realized they just set up the dryers so could they come Wednesday instead. Sigh. Whatever. Hopefully they take that stuff away today so I can set up my washer and dryer to do some laundry, the kids are down to their last pair of jammies.
And it's not just these folks that are disorganized. We had some furniture coming from Home Depot and the delivery window was from 11-3. When my mom showed up to wait for that stuff at 10:30? They'd already delivered and just left that stuff in my front yard! The plumber says he'll come Monday and is finally allegedly going to show up today. I am the most OCD person when it comes to being punctual and having a schedule so this shit is giving me a heart attack. I know I'll be happy with the finished results, I just hope it's over soon.

1.20.2015

Christa Tuesday - 48 Weeks

Well this little baby is just a month away from being 1; it's the first week of her eleventh month (JCPenney pictures here). She's not walking yet but steps are being taken. There's a lot of standing going on for sure. I think she just realizes she can crawl faster than she can walk someplace and this girl has no time for that! No, sir! She's got places to be, things to put in her mouth and stuff to destroy!
In the babycenter.com email I get weekly, it mentioned baby proofing and that is really something we clearly need to do. She actually went in to our kitchen cabinet and pulled out a full bag of flour, which weighs about 5 pounds, and proceeded to tear it apart with her beaver teeth. Silence is a warning sign because whenever it exists I generally find her eating a magazine or pulling toilet paper off the roll. She's very fast and if you blink, next thing you know it she's up about 5 stairs at my mom's house or you find yourself searching rooms to try and find where she has disappeared to. Christa spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E. But if you even hint (jokingly) that she is a bad girl, her brother will seriously ball up his fists and tell you that she is a good baby. We better watch out for him.
Words are being spoken! She can say Casey and "titi" for Betty. She says "nigh nigh" pretty clearly. There's a lot of "mama" going on for sure. If there is a pillow nearby, and you say "nigh nigh" she will lay her head right down and pretend to go to sleep. She's very proud of that little party trick, no doubt. And this is what it looks like:
And then there is the eating. Non-stop. Anything and everything. By the time I get her out of her chair, there is food everywhere: in her hair, on the floor, in her clothes and diapers... Yeah. I think she's going through a growth spurt and then there are the teeth coming so maybe the pressure of eating makes her gums feel better. Poor doll. At least she's sleeping well. Only wakes up about once a night now and quickly falls back to sleep. This baby thing is going by way too fast. 

1.16.2015

Eff This Noise Haiku Friday

Many crews of men
Tearing walls and ripping floors
My house the war zone
Why stop at one room
When we can take them all out
And start right over
The bar/spare bedroom
Will become a kids playroom
Because why not right?

1.15.2015

This Old House

Yesterday I talked about snowballs in regards to debt. Today I will talk about snowballs in regards to the shenanigans in my house. See this?
This little moisture here is what led me to discover there was a leak behind the washer and dryer.
See this?
This is what happens when your brother rips your wall open when you tell him there is a leak behind the washer and dryer. It seems harmless enough, nothing a little drywall and paint won't fix. But no. It's never that easy. See this?
This is the crack in the wall behind my shower that water was draining out of and on to the concrete in our back yard. It all looks so easy to fix but apparently it's not. Since there was some repair work that needed to be done and some visible damage, I decided to call the home insurance people to see if some of this was covered. They took a walk around and did their assessment and they determined I would be eligible for some funds. When they realized the house was built in 1974, around the same time asbestos use was being phased out of construction, they decided they needed to run some tests. On Tuesday night, some tests were run on our walls and yesterday I got a call confirming those tests were positive for asbestos.
Apparently tomorrow morning some environmental team is coming out to assess what needs to be done to get the walls and carpet dried and treated so things can be safely removed and replaced without exposing us to asbestos. Luckily this is all covered so I'm not going to have to pretend I have the money to pay for any of this. Also, the insurance company basically will be paying us the equivalent of rent to evacuate our house while this repair work is being done. It all makes me very nervous, you know? Because of the kids. And honestly, the idea of walls being torn down and all the repairs that need to be done all makes me kind of sick to my stomach. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad it's getting taken care of but it's still very stressful. This is my home. My safe place. And currently it's all upside down.

1.14.2015

Some New Year Reflection Ish

I have to be honest, 2015 has started off as quite a challenge. On day two we found out Casey was going to need dental surgery in the $1200 range in April. Then, that afternoon, we discovered a leak in our spare room that originated from the laundry room. Since then pipes have been snaked, home insurance has been involved, a hazmat man came out and inspected for possible asbestos, and machines will have to come in to dry walls and carpet that will eventually have to be replaced. On top of that we had our master bathroom demolished and a remodel is currently in progress. I mean, wow, right? It's only the middle of January and enough has happened to last me a year.
In addition to all this home repair business, Husband's work cut his overtime and thus our income dropped quite significantly. We have Christa's first birthday party rapidly approaching. On Monday I went to the kindergarten Casey will attend in the fall to pick up enrollment paperwork. It just feels like if it's not one thing it's another and I know that this all goes hand in hand with being a parent and a homeowner but darn if I don't wish there was a day without some monumental event on the horizon. So as with any new year, there are resolutions to be made and I figure I will jot my single plan down here so it will become gospel.

2015 RESOLUTION: MONEY. Save some and pay off some debts! Luckily insurance sounds like they will give us some money to pay for the aforementioned disaster in our house. My mom is also helping so that's super nice and wonderful. Hopefully a nice tax return will pay for Casey's dentistry. Those are the two biggies. Here are a dozen steps I will take to make sure we don't end up destitute this year (that drama was specifically for you, BFF).
  1. 52-week Money Challenge
  2. Automatic withdrawal monthly of $25 from checking to savings
  3. Keeping a checkbook and rounding down deposits and rounding up withdrawals. Each time I hit $25, I put that in the savings account.
  4. Tossing any and all loose change at the end of the day into a piggy bank. Once that thing is full, we usually use it for groceries but I'm tossing it in the savings account.
  5. Keeping to a strict budget! I love my spreadsheet that maps every single cent we owe to anyone at any given time.
  6. Husband is on call a lot so his paycheck can fluctuate. Any cent over his standard base pay will be used to go towards debt from this point on since the savings will be covered in the aforementioned steps. 
  7. That same "on call" requires he be sober. So I too shall be sober on those days in solidarity. We drink a lot of beer. Good beer. Costly beer. I foresee this having a huge impact on not only the money but our waistlines.
  8. Not using credit cards unless it is a true emergency. I'm bad at this.
  9. Start paying off the smallest debt completely while paying the minimum on the bigger stuff. Knocking those down snowball style.
  10. Bringing lunch to work instead of eating out. Again with the waistline benefiting from money-saving.
  11. Firing the cleaning lady and the gardener. Please let's tip a 40 in their memory. They will be missed most of all.
  12. Explore the world of coupons.
MORAL OF THAT STORY: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

1.13.2015

Christa Tuesday - 47 Weeks

It is the last week of Christa's tenth month. On Sunday she will be eleven months old. Yesterday I decided that her first birthday party will be on February 21st. My little baby is taking steps now, several at a time. She wears shoes. She stands up. She's on the verge of being a dang toddler! I guess knowing that she is the last baby I will have or care for makes this a lot more emotional than it was when the boy started getting bigger and achieving developmental milestones.
My beautiful little daughter is in absolutely everything all of the time. I find her taking the toilet paper off the roll more often than I care to admit. This morning I found that she was removing paper from the trash can and eating it like a little billy goat. There are definitely many moments where I catch myself saying "it's too quiet" only to inevitably find that she is in something she shouldn't be. I, however, am not a twenty-eyed octopus with eight arms so I am simply unable to keep her out of trouble.
She is still eating like a horse. More sounds are coming out of her and she's moving from the "deedee dadda" sounds into "mama" territory so that is very exciting. A cute new thing she does now is snuggle. She will put her blankie in her lap and fold her tiny body over in half and act like she is sleeping. She is also very fond of a white polar bear stuffed animal my mom bought her and she is often caught rolling on him or hugging or eating him. She's a lover. Even if she is a little monster.

1.12.2015

1.09.2015

Haiku Friday

Demolition time
Goodbye, 70s bathroom
Hello, modern times
***
Only having one 
Bathroom makes me so grateful
For the two we had
***
We take for granted
The simple things we do have
While we're wanting more

1.07.2015

Very Superstitious

On Monday morning I came to work and this magic wand was sitting at my desk, a gift from my boss to my daughter. I told him she was too small to use it so I would use it in the meantime for my own gain. Later I posted this picture of me with it on Instagram with the caption: Sometimes lots of things go to hell all at once but your boss leaves a magic wand at your desk and you start to wonder if maybe magic is the answer...
That afternoon I had to leave work to go home and watch the pinpoint guy determine what the problem was as far as the leak was concerned. He spent a good 30 minutes traversing my property with different machines that sounded like video games. Flags were planted, cameras were used and it was a stressful situation awaiting the diagnosis. It turned out, however, that after the man snaked our pipes on Saturday, the problem was resolved as far as why the washing machine made big booboos in my wall and wet the hell out of my guest room carpet. Our pipes are in great shape, the pressure is good and there is no sub-slab leak. Why, then, was there still water leaking out of the wall of my house into the backyard each time we showered?
It turns out in addition to the waste-water clog that was resolved with the snake, we also have bad pipes in our shower and an outdated and runny toilet. Instead of them having to tear down walls all over the place to re-pipe my home we only have to demolish and re-do my master bathroom. That's cheaper but not cheap; still a mess but less messy. We take the good, we take the bad, we take them both and then we have...

My mother is the queen of renovations so she is thrilled to be a part of this. She has agreed to help me financially saying that it is my inheritance in advance - which is yucky but also really nice - so we immediately headed to Lowe's and the Home Depot to get ideas. Let me just say I do not like doing these kinds of things. Buying home goods. Thinking about home destruction. None of it is really my bag so after Lowe's I was getting frustrated and discouraged. We walked into Home Depot and this happened:
No, not my double chin. That little lady bug twixt my boobage. He was my hitchhiker friend for pretty much half our visit until he tried to fly up my nose and decided to move on to greener pastures. I'm a firm believer in those little guys being luck bringers and so is my mother. It was a nice part of a not so nice day.
Cut to this morning when my mom calls me at work and rather than saying hello dives right into "Do you think your luck is going to change?" Immediately my stomach does a belly flop because WTF does that mean?! So I insist she explain herself so I don't vomit and she says she looked in her bank account and some financial assistance she applied for connected to my dad's diagnosis of Parkinsons due to exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam had come through that is enough to cover this renovation without her having to dip into her special emergency fund. She said, "Your dad is looking out for you, Randi." And we both agreed he was the Lady Bug. And I started believing in magic again.

MORAL OF THAT STORY: Without my parents, my life would be much, much worse. 

1.06.2015

Christa Tuesday - 46 Weeks

You guys! In six more weeks I will have a one-year old! When the heck did that happen? I know I say it every week but I am stinkin' perplexed. It felt like Casey was a baby for so long and this little girl is halfway to being a grown-up. Okay, not really, but still. Speaking of Casey, these two children are thick as thieves. You should see the way she lights up when she sees her big brother. And now he's taken to kind of picking her up under her arms and dragging her around the house or rolling on the floor with her so she must think he's some kind of roller-coaster ride.
Most nights she will wake up at around midnight or two in the morning and I can either tuck her back in to fall asleep in her crib or I just bring her to bed with me. Last night I brought her to bed and she tossed and turned for about an hour and a half before finally falling asleep on my face. She's a crazy child and I'm a tired mommy. This morning she was smiling at me and I told her not to because I was mad at her shenanigans and her brother said "How can you be mad at a baby when they are so nice?" This little girl will be set for life with her guardian angel of a brother.
I know Christa is on her way to walking because now she just stands in place for extended periods of time. She wants it, she just needs to build up her confidence. Maria is impressed with how strong she is and how she can pull herself up on top of things now. She's still eating like a horse. Now she'll see me eating something and if she wants it she kind of flaps her arms at me like a wee chicken and makes a little grunting sound. It's real cute. She's just such a good, nice baby. I can't help but smile when I see her and she's always just so darn glad to see me. It's really nice to be her mommy.
This is what the chicken grunt looks like.

1.05.2015

Weekend Pics

 When a Saturday morning starts off like this it kind of makes up for the B.S. that happened below:
 Yup. That's a chunk of my wall behind the washer missing. We discovered some damp carpet on Friday night and it led to my brother doing this. Which led to us discovering three huge clogs in our waste water pipes on Saturday that needed a man with a snake to remove. Which led to us detecting a sub-slab leak. Which leads to me leaving today at some point for the pinpoint person to come and determine where our leak originates and for the plumber to determine how much of my home he needs to destroy to repair said leak. Words like "jack hammer" and "re-pipe the house" were used. 2015 apparently wants to see me penniless.
Sunday was spent licking our wounds and drinking lots of alcohol and watching my brother's Cowboys trample my husband's Lions. I was enjoying a pre-noon Bloody Mary when I took this picture of my baby pretending to be Minnie Mouse.