Month: September 2008

As if the gas shortage isn’t bad enough

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Our old house had polybutylene pipes. If you’re not familiar, they are a plasty-crap invention from the 80s that have since become one of the biggest homeowner liabilities in the industry. Apparently, the chlorine in the water eats away at the pipes until they just burst.

Ours finally burst over our kitchen in the old house, flooding two floors. We ripped all the poly out and replaced it with copper, replaced all the sheetrock and then promptly moved!

Here’s some pics from that little joy:

DSCF0567  DSCF0566

DSCF0569 DSCF0565

When we moved, another of our criteria (in addition to sidewalks) was a house with copper pipes. Our current house has copper pipes on the inside, but a poly line running from the main to the house. One of my first orders of business when we moved in, was to get it replaced.

But, I never did.

I woke up this morning after CareerMom had left for a 6 a.m. aerobics class and heard the sound of running water through the pipes. Wondering where it could possibly be coming from since no one else was awake (and with a sense of pending doom in my chest), I slowly walked from bathroom to bathroom checking for a  flowing toilet, or a running faucet that perhaps the kids left on. Nothing.

I checked the basement, fearing a foot of water and ruined collectibles…nothing.

I went outside to the faucet where the main line comes in…NIAGARA FALLS!

So, we’re unlucky in that our water main burst last night, but lucky in that there was zero damage to the inside of the house. I called and left CareerMom a message on her cell to pick up some water on her way home, and then I left a message with one of the plumbers who gave me an estimate for the work.

Hopefully, they’ll come right out, but I have my doubts. Could be a sucky coupla days around here.

UPDATE: Due to the hazard of digging and possibly hitting another utility line, we won’t be able to get it fixed till tomorrow. So, looks like showering at the gym; baths at grammas, and dining out! Oh, and begging the neighbors for water to flush the toilets.
Ah, deeeeep cleansing breaths. Happy happy joy joy thoughts.

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Monday’s Collection O’ Goodness

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georgia football After about two months of posts, I usually end up with a bunch of little blog-ellas that aren’t really worthy of their own, entire blog. So here’s this month’s Blog-ellas. May they bring you much peace and happiness.

  • When you hear about frown lines and laugh lines and worry lines, you think, Eh, it’s all part of getting old. There’s nothing I can do about that.” But nobody ever said anything about “pillow lines.” Yes, I have a wrinkle now from sleeping on one side all the time. It’s where my chubby cheek folds up against my honker (my nose Romi, My NOSE!) as I lay on my pillow. 
  • We played one of the Veggie Tales movies for the kids on the way to church this weekend and now I have the song, “Oh, I need to tell you sumthin’….I don’t got a belly button‘” song running through my head (and I keep laughing about it!) 
  • My football team, Alabama, completely rolled over #3 Georgia this weekend…and then almost blew it in the 4th quarter. But we held on and that makes it all good, for an ENTIRE YEAR! 
  • I told you about my little cigar hobby. I am a rank amateur…there, I said it. But, I do know that a humidor doesn’t really work if you don’t put any solution on the little spongy thing, so I dropped by a cigar shop on Sunday to pick some up. How do I explain it? Have you ever been politely told that you’re an idiot without the words “Idiot” ever actually being uttered? Well, that’s how I felt when I left. I think I need to find a different cigar shop to give my money to…that or either purchase everything online. Thank the Lord for the Internet. It’s an introvert’s best friend! 
  • Here in Atlanta, we have a severe gas shortage. I spent 1.5 hours in line waiting for gas this weekend and as I drove to work this morning, I must have passed five stations with lines down the street. I’d like to address Congress and tell them to forget bailing out the morons who mismanaged all their financial assets and instead bail out Exxon! I’m pretty sure that in 35 years when I retire, my savings will have recovered, but I need GAS NOW!
  • My sister is getting married on November 1. For many and various reasons, I am not attending, and I feel horrible about it. I went to my other sister’s wedding, which perhaps makes it even worse. CareerMom has a weeklong trip the week leading up to the wedding and she’d literally have to get off one plane and get on another for us to make it in time. Also, we’d have to miss Halloween and though normally I couldn’t care less about that, but this year MLI is really excited about it. He’s to the age now where he can appreciate candy…and does.

I think that’ll do it. But the week is young. We’ll see what other exciting new things pop up!

What? You don’t like the "dogs playing cards" picture?

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color wheel As much as I like to pretend that I don’t care what other people think, the truth is that I do. But not so much because I want their approval as much as I like the validation for my ideas. Is that different? I can’t tell, but I think so.

For a guy, I like to think that I have a pretty good eye for decorating and color. When I was single, I got lots of compliments from…um…people visiting my condo; I can match clothes when CareerMom and I go out (what few times we do), and I can even be trusted to pick up household knick-knacks on my own without CareerMom having to return them in the dead of night to keep from hurting my feelings.

Wait…

No…

It’s Ok…after some self introspection, I’ve reconfirmed that I’m hetero!

Anyway, we’re in the process of updating our house as I’ve blogged a few times. This includes new paint, some new appliances, lighting, etc. Now, barring winning the lottery, I’m making these updates as I can afford them, which means I can replace approximately 1.2 fixtures per paycheck, or 1 appliance every 6 months (washer and dryer count as two appliances) without having to serve beans and rice to the kids for a week of dinners.

We’ve come to a point though where now that I’ve re-painted, some of the window treatments that were left over from the old owners, no longer “fit” the decor. Some of these windows are oddly shaped, in strange places, or have some characteristic that makes your typical “drapes with a swag” an unattractive proposition.

CareerMom’s sister hired an “interior decorator” to come in and create a design for her house and CareerMom wanted to do the same for ours. I did something similar with our landscaping. I had a guy create a plan that I could implement on my own as my finances afforded, and that’s worked out well, so I agreed with CareerMom that it sounded like a good idea. I was afraid of the cost, but the lady she’s using works for a local decorating and fabric store and so she works for one flat price–not the by-the-hour charge many of them use.

I happened to be working from home the morning the designer dropped by and CareerMom took the morning off so she could shadow the designer as she wandered around the house. For about an hour and a half, the “designer” mumbled to herself while walking around measuring walls and windows, making the occasional comment about this or that.

So now that she’s come in and mentally critiqued our house, she will go create a plan. I’m a tad fuzzy on her deliverables (and her credentials frankly), but CareerMom didn’t question it and I’m no dummy, so I’m keeping my mouth shut.

To her credit thus far, she did make a couple of good suggestions for our dining room, which I at first thought were ridiculous, but after having lived with them for a few days, have decided that I rather like, so I’m open to her other ideas. But the one thing she did comment on while she was here that got my hackles up, was as she walked into the kitchen and said, making that little pinched look with her lips and forehead, “Hmm, the older shiny brass fixtures and newer stainless appliances are throwing me off!

I held my tongue, in part because I agreed, but mostly because I didn’t want to upset CareerMom since this was “her thing.” But I really wanted to ask “design-lady” how many of her clients can afford to come into a “new to them” house and wholesale remodel in one fell swoop!?

Sure we only have one stainless appliance right now and the rest are black, but that’s only because the old black dishwasher broke and I had to replace it and wanted to move towards stainless. And yeah, the hood on the stove is shiny brass, but to update it, you have to buy a whole new hood and one like that, with a different finish is about $1,000! And I’m sorry that the perfectly operational sink fixture is shiny gold instead of a nice brushed bronze, but they ain’t cheap!

SO LAY OFF LADY!

That’s what I was thinkin’ anyway. In actuality, I just nodded along and bit my tongue.

But as she left, she did say one thing that I agreed with, “You seem to be into comfortable rather than glitzy, so my design will reflect that.”

It’s true; neither naked Greek statues nor ostentatious grandfather clocks will probably ever grace my foyer, but daggum, when I sit down at night to watch “The Office,” I’m comfortable, and frankly, that’s all that matters! (did you see Jim propose to Pam?)

Riots in the streets, dogs and cats living together…

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What’s wrong with these pictures?

Taken at 2:20 p.m. today via our daycare’s Web cams:

MLI sleeping

MLE

Um…why are the older kids sleeping like, well…babies, and the younger kids are up havin’ a ball?

Man…might be a tough night with my toddler!

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Kid quote of the day

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…driving the boys home from daycare yesterday, I discovered another thing different about me and CareerMom…

Sitting at the red light waiting to turn into our neighborhood. Tom Petty is belting out “Free Falling” on the FM and I’m mumbling along with it. From the back seat, MLI says, “This doesn’t SOUND like a GOD song. Is this a GOD song?”

I almost said what you’re probably thinking too, but I didn’t.

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The day should get better from here

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Under control It was supposed to make it easier on me this week. It was supposed to make the whole process of getting the kids up and getting them off to daycare simpler while CareerMom is off doing Team Building in Phoenix. But alas, it was not to be.

…Sometime this past weekend

CareerMom: Why don’t I just pay for the kid’s breakfasts at daycare this week while I’m gone. That’ll make it easier on you in the morning.

Me: *snort* You fix them breakfast in the morning; I can handle it too (rolling my eyes)

CareerMom: Yeah, but you’re usually here for a while anyway and help me get them ready and stuff. You’ll be by yourself.
(You see what she did here? She mollified my indignation at the apparent assertion that I couldn’t handle getting the boys to daycare. Open chest cavity, push correct button…)

Me: Well, it would make things easier. You sure you don’t mind?

CareerMom: No, I don’t mind and I’m looking at the menu here and it’s decent, so they should get a pretty good breakfast.

Me: OK, thanks.

Back in the present…

We left the house at 7:25a.m. and arrived at daycare around 7:50. They stop serving breakfast at 8 a.m., so we got there just under the bell. Now normally, they bring all the kids’ breakfasts to their classrooms at once, so when I dropped MLE off in his room and didn’t see a breakfast, I was a bit surprised. As was his teacher. So, MLI and I headed back up to the front, where I mentioned to the lady that we had paid for breakfast. She said, “Oh yeah, I’ll get it.”

So, I took MLI on down to his room. At some point along the walk, he figured out that I had NOT brought him breakfast,like we normally do and he started sulking and proclaimed, “I don’t want to eat their breakfast.” At this point, I was like, “Well, that’s what you’re having and if you don’t eat it, you’ll be really really hungry by lunchtime.”

I mentioned to his teacher that breakfast should be on its way, and then I kissed MLI on the top of the head and headed out. As I walked back by MLE’s class, I noticed, “No breakfast” and MLE was screaming his head off because he’s been up since 6:30 and he’s starving!

So, I walk back up to the front, where the same lady I just spoke to is on the phone. When she got off, I said:

Me: Breakfast? (making this little shruggy motion with my arms and shoulders)
Her: Oh, well we ran out of biscuits so it’s gonna be like 20 minutes before I can get him something else.

Me: And what would that “something else” be?
Her: Well, I’ll get him some fruit.

Me: Fruit is NOT breakfast, I don’t care what vegetarians tell you. They need more than just some fruit.

…there was more, but as my voice got louder, her demeaner got more defiant and it turned into me pretty much chewing her out.

I then told her to refund our breakfast money for the rest of the week because I would take care of it since I clearly couldn’t rely on them (yeah, I tend to over-exaggerate things when I’m mad…).

Now before you all take her side, there are things you should know about our daycare. It used to be run by a family, and well run at that. They sold it to a chain and since then, the staff has become about 50% fantastic and 50% craptastic. This lady falls into the latter category.

After my tirade, I stormed out and spent the next 30 minutes in traffic going to Chick-Fil-A and getting the boys a real manly-man breakfast (not any of this gol-darn hippie-crap!) and then taking it back. And I’m glad I did because when I got to MLI’s room, all they had given him (for the $2.50 we’d paid) was a piece of dry toast and some crushed fruit. I mentioned my episode to his teacher and she said (God bless her!) “Was that XY? We don’t like her much. Oh, I shouldn’t say that in front of you kids.” And then under her breath she said, “But it’s true!”

Some days, I think it’s just me. That maybe I’m just too uptight. But there are just some things in life you don’t mess with, and a man’s kids are one of them.

You’re just bringin’ me down dad!

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Slow Children When we bought this house two years ago, it was after careful screening of potential neighborhoods. One of CareerMom’s criteria was that it have sidewalks, which this one does. When it gets cooler, one of my favorite things to do in the evening is to take one (or both) of the boys on a walk with me after dinner. It’s usually a 20-25 minute affair, but it settles my meal and gets everyone away from whiney MLE for a bit.

Last night both boys wanted to go and since CareerMom needed to pack for her weeklong extravaganza (read: sucky business trip in Phoenix), MLI donned his Spider man PJ’s and crocks while I put MLE in the stroller so I could push him. Despite having shown severe signs of tiredness previously, MLI revived himself and proved time and time again that, “I’m faster than you daddy” by running pell-mell up the street, only stopping to do a victory dance at the next street corner.

I wasn’t quite ready to head home at the usual turn-around spot, so I suggested we stroll along the busy road just outside our  neighborhood. Normally, MLI would balk at doing something with so much noise going on, but after suggesting it, he surprised me again with, “But, I like loud noises!” News to me…

We turned the corner on the street and as the oncoming cars raced towards us, MLI took off running down the sidewalk. In my head, I envisioned him tripping on his crocks and tumbling head over heels into oncoming traffic, so I yelled my warning, which he either didn’t hear or ignored. But I caught up with him at the next stop sign and warned him about getting too far ahead. We turned around and started heading home and he took off running again.

I let him get about 60 yards ahead of me and then I started jogging with MLE and the stroller. This stroller isn’t one of those big wheeled affairs that rolls easily, so I couldn’t go as fast as I wanted, but I nearly caught up with MLI as he rounded the corner into the neighborhood. Though part of me was laughing hysterically at the site of this four year old running like a madman in his SpiderMan PJ’s, the parental part of me was hollering at him NOT to get too far ahead.

As I crested the top of the hill, I spied him–still running–and I lost him in the bend of the road where the trees obscured my vision. Knowing that he would be nearing the street crossing again–the one where the teenage girls come flying through yapping on their cell phones with their little friends, paying no mind to what else is going on out in the world–I yelled at the top of my lungs, “ETHAN! DO NOT CROSS THE STREET!”

Not hearing anything in response, I picked up the pace and when I was finally able to see around the bend, there was nothing there to see. Which presented a problem because he could have gone either A) across the street and back home or B) on down the hill towards the park. In either case, he was in trouble, but the “amount” of trouble was yet to be seen depending on his direction.

Luckily, another walker came towards me and said, “You do realize your son just ran right past me back towards your house?” Biting back a  snotty retort, I simply responded with a “Thank you” and headed on home.

Five minutes later I walked into the house, already formulating how much anger to inject into my voice and what kind of punishment to give him. I went upstairs and found him lying in our bed watching cartoons in preparation for bedtime. I shut off the TV and told him to go to his room, as CareerMom asked, “I take it you didn’t tell him he could run ahead of you?

Oh, the understatement of the year. I explained to her what happened and even as I explained it, I felt bad about the pending punishment because I know he was just having a grand old time. I can envision me as a kid doing the same thing. The freedom of running away from your parents like that…seeing how fast you can run until your legs, or lungs, give out. I felt him, I really did; but, some things–like crossing the street without me–simply can’t go unpunished. For safety’s sake and all…you know.

In the end, he got away with just having to go to bed early, which wasn’t much of a punishment since we’d planned on putting him to bed early anyway (faking him out using the early darkness as a trick), but at least I kept my calm and didn’t yell. Yeah, a big WIN for me.

But it’s tough balancing letting kids have fun, and disciplining them. Though I’m good with “when” to draw the line, the “how” of it, still eludes me.