New decking should be fully installed by the weekend.
What did I think of the new Kit Kittredge American Girl games for PC and Nintendo DS? Go here to find out.
New decking should be fully installed by the weekend.
What did I think of the new Kit Kittredge American Girl games for PC and Nintendo DS? Go here to find out.
First, I told you it would darken fabulously. It's still got a way to go, but here's the current pastel version:
Two days ago the mailman knocked on our door to deliver a couple of packages. He likes to do this rather than just leave them in the door, mostly because 3/4 of the time they are legos for Little Man who gets all excited about the mail, so the mailman likes to give him a little fun. Anyway, he handed the packages to Little Man and said "Guess what I just saw? A black bear." No surprise there.
What was a surprise was that the mailman was filling the mailboxes one row of townhouses away (for those who don't know, there's a big box at the start of every other row of townhouses that has all the boxes for the houses in both those rows. We all have to walk down a row to the box to get our mail. Kinda like the lobby of an apartment building, but with more weather.) and he said the bear came out of the woods, walked RIGHT BEHIND HIM DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET and went into the small wooded area in front of the houses WHERE OUR PLAYGROUND IS. The bear was completely unconcerned that the mailman was standing there watching him as he waddled down the road, in broad daylight, right in the middle of a townhouse development.
This concerned me. Most wildlife doesn't bother me in the slightest; in fact, that's part of the appeal of living here. We've had bear sightings before in the almost 20 years that this neighborhood has existed, but they were just that - sightings. One shot, and the bear was gone. Never have we had one this bold, one who keeps coming back and who obviously isn't perturbed by people. He's obviously well fed, too.
So I decided to call the Department of Natural Resources, who usually handles these things. I told the woman about all the bear encounters I know about and asked what they do. Well, in a word, nothing. She told me to lock up the trash, put all birdfeeders away, do whatever we have to do to eliminate the food source. I was silent for a second, then I attempted to explain that this is a townhouse neighborhood. It has 150 houses, lots of kids, lots of pets. The likelihood of getting all those houses to lock up their trash when only maybe 20% have sheds in which to lock them is pretty slim, not to mention that our trash has to be out to the curb by 7am on Mondays and Thursdays and what are we supposed to do then? Not put our trash out until the garbage truck comes? Take every Monday and Thursday off so we can wait for them? Obviously this bear isn't confining his food searches to nighttime. She said he's an adolescent looking for girl bears, and when he figures out there are no girl bears here and the food source is gone, he'll move on. I reminded her that I just explained that the food source is going to be there and it really isn't feasible to remove it. She didn't say anything. I said "You really don't do ANYTHING? We don't want the bear hurt, we want it to have a happy life, but we really don't want a kid or pet to be hurt." She told me again the whole shpiel about locking up the trash and putting away birdfeeders. I angrily thanked her and hung up.
Today I had planned to try the county animal control office, but I talked to my neighbor, also a mother with small kids, and she called them when she first saw the bear months ago. They told her to call the Department of Natural Resources. And we know how that went. So I didn't call, and instead posted to our neighborhood playgroup about the bear and the natural resources call, and asked for input about any other bear sightings in the neighborhood. Only my neighbor called me, and I already knew about her sighting. So far I haven't heard from anyone else. I'll wait until Monday, and then try calling the county again.
I am really concerned about the fact that this bear doesn't appear to be fearful of humans. I am worried it is going to take a kid or animal getting hurt before anyone will do anything about it. It's ridiculous that we need to be worried about letting our kids go play in the front yard or ride their bikes up and down the street because of a bear that is somewhere he doesn't belong. It's not like this is a rural, mountainous area that's his natural habitat; this is the DC metro suburbs. Sexual predators? Sad, but sure. Traffic going too fast? You betcha. Carjackers? Yep. Bears? Not so much.
Anyone got any ideas? I'm all ears.
I also worry about how much I yell. Check it out at DC Metro Moms Blog.
Believe it or not, I also sometimes find time to scrapbook. Find out how here.
Years ago when we had the water leak in the basement and were trying to figure out where it was coming from, we tore up a couple of boards on our deck. Of course, it turned out the water wasn't coming from outside the house, but rather a cracked pipe inside, but we left the biggest of the boards torn up. We are lazy that way. We recognized that the deck needs to be replaced anyway. We educated all the kids about the hole, and even though it is in a bad location at the top of our steps in front of the gate, no one ever had a problem with it.
About, oh, three? months ago, we got a quote to have the deck redecked, and in the course of doing whatever he did to create his estimate, the guy put the board back in the spot, but of course didn't nail it back down. So since then we've had this loose board that the kids would occasionally step on or loosen slightly, but nobody ever fell through, I guess because they are so light and quick. So we left it like that, and I half hoped that the bear or racoons would fall in, and I also felt it was a cool booby trap in case someone tried to come up on our deck in the dead of night to break into our house - we'd at least hear them coming from all the swearing when they fell in.
BigDaddyFish wasn't feeling well last night, so he didn't take our trash or recycling to the curb last night. This morning he was running late, so he missed the trash truck, but recycling only comes once a week so we wanted to get our bins out. I grabbed a full, wet, dripping bin and headed down the stairs, BDF right behind me with a pile of wet cardboard boxes. We came back up the stairs, me in front and BDF behind me. I am neither light nor quick nor accustomed to carrying trash/recycling down the stairs, and my propensity for klutzy behavior is well documented. Down I went, arms a flailing, landing of course with my left shin hard up against the diagonal edge of the solid part of the deck, catching myself with the middle of my right forearm against the railing. Fortunately, the railing held. Unfortunately, it didn't give very much. BDF told me not to move, but I was pissed and embarrassed, so I yanked my leg out of the deck, shrieking through my closed mouth where I was biting my lip to keep from embarrassing myself even further, and limped to a chair.
The pictures above were taken about an hour later. BDF pulled the board back up so that people can see where they have to step so they don't fall in. I'm calling a guy today who gave me a good estimate to re-deck the deck. I'll take a picture later of my leg later - right now it's just a faint mottled purple under my whiter-than-pale skin and slightly swollen, but I can tell by how fraking much it hurts that it's going to be spectacular.
Make me feel better. What klutzy thing have you done recently?
I was lucky enough to be one of the featured BlogHer blogs on the ivillage home page over the weekend with this post. Someone else even linked to me from their forum. Thank you, whoever you are, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's like that a lot around here.
Kam A., who commented on the Giveaway post. I took all the names of those who commented on both the original Black v. Stainless post, and on the Giveaway post, and assigned each a number, which was easy because there were only 17. Then when BigDaddyFish walked in the room, I asked him to pick a number between one and 17, and he picked 14. Then he asked why. So I told him.
So now, without further ado, here are the new fridge and oven, freshly installed this afternoon, no thanks to a bad combination of Home Depot and my "old" house:
When Home Depot got here to deliver the appliances, they pulled the stove out and told me they couldn't install it. It seems my house is too "old" and the gas line to the stove was about half the diameter of the new one. Plus they said I didn't have a gas shut off right next to the stove (they were wrong). I panicked and called like 4 people, but the HD guys said call a plumber. So I called Germantown Plumbing, who rescued me before, and within one hour they were here and hooked it up lickety split. Now I just have an extra, non-working oven in my kitchen for a week before Montgomery County can come pick it up. If you are in Upper Montgomery County and need a plumber, please call those guys. They are FAST and do great work for a reasonable price.
I think they look great, don't they? I can wait to make a garlic roast and a cake. Or brownies. But not at the same time.
So, as part of fixing up the house, we are finally "forced" to replace the range with the non-working oven (seriously, it takes an hour at 500 degrees to cook a frozen pizza, and even then the center will be cold) and the refrigerator that simultaneously manages to freeze any carrots put on the shelves and let the yogurt melt into thick soup, as well as let any meat spoil. I think we've decided on the range (this one here), but we are having an issue with the fridge.
Apparently they stopped making the size fridge that we have room for sometime in the 19 years since we've had this one. This one is 31 inches wide, but nowadays most of what you find are the big honking side-by-sides that are 33-36 inches wide. So we have to go a little smaller, which is 29.5 inches wide. That's fine. But BigDaddyFish and I are having a bit of an argument -- over color.
We are agreed we don't want white. He wants stainless steel. While stainless would look good, I am cheap and I don't want to pay the extra $150 to get stainless on the same fridge we can get in black for less. He thinks our kitchen is bright and airy (which it is) and if we put a black fridge in that space it will create some sort of black hole that will suck in all that is happy and joyful in life. I only exaggerate slightly. So I asked Uncle Orca/Agincourtdb, who said go with the black because we'll just cover it up with kids' drawings anyway. He has a point. I guess it comes down to the overall effect and what is going to be more desirable to a buyer.
So I'm doing what any self-respecting blogger does: I'm asking you guys. Here's the space:
So, picture this stove in the spot, and then tell me, which do you prefer? Black or stainless? Is the feeling about the stainless strong enough to justify paying the extra $$? Am I just a cheap wench? Keep in mind we also need to have the budget to paint the entire house, sand and refinish the hardwood in the kitchen, get a new subfloor and other flooring in the entryway and powder room, get a little drywall work done, replace two more floors of carpeting, and get the whole place deep cleaned. I have a minor panic attack even thinking about it. For the record, our dishwasher is black. The current stove is black with a stainless top, the new one will be the opposite - stainless with a black top.
Vote in the comments and there just may be a prize involved if I get, oh, say ten or more comments.
In with the new: To refresh, in case you skipped the last post, we're having a birthday party for Sunny on Saturday, and we've been living with a filthy carpet in our family room for
decades eons a few years. We had a dog that had kidney disease, and between that and potty training 3 kids who sometimes still have accidents and who eat in that room, the carpet was, in one word, disgusting. Filthy. Nasty. Vile. Putr...okay, that was 4.5 words, but it really was awful. Observe:
We had steam cleaned it periodically for about the first six years, then it started to reek for weeks after we cleaned it, so we stopped cleaning it and resolved (ha! no pun intended) to simply replace the flooring when we left. Originally we were going to put in hardwoods but that's a whole 'nother story, and our budget wouldn't allow for that at this point, since we have so many other things to do, too. BigDaddyFish decided he wanted to have it done before the birthday party, so we called Empire Today.
Empire's commercials are annoying, but effective, and they really DO what they say they will. We called them Monday morning, and the guy was in our living room taking measurements Monday evening. The guys came Tuesday and installed the carpet in that room (which is much larger than it appears) and up one flight of steps in about 3 hours. The price was a little on the high side compared to what I would have done with a local carpet store, but they wouldn't have been here the next day, either, and it was competitive enough that we didn't bat an eyelash.
So, Tuesday we had this:
and by Tuesday night, we had this:
I'm kind of liking the room with most of the crap out of it, and I'm thinking of not putting
any of it all of it back. The only thing is that without our electronics hooked back up, Sunny sings all. day. long. and. makes. my. ears. bleed. So nobody is allowed in that room with food or drink or shoes on, under penalty of flogging and denial of college funds. I am rotten.
Speaking of Sunny, she's had difficulty adjusting to the changes going on around here to get the house ready to sell. Tuesday night I was working on cleaning the kitchen, and she was playing in the living room running around with Nemo and Trout. Or so I thought. Apparently, though, she went upstairs at some point, and for some reason we're still not sure about, emptied 5 water bottles all over Little Man's bed and floor, badly enough that he couldn't sleep in his drenched bed and he had to cram himself in about 3 square feet at the foot of his bed between the bed and his closet because the floor was drenched, too. She had cried about the old carpet leaving, so we had the carpet guys cut out a relatively "clean" piece that was under our table for her to use as a "picnic" mat and she's been carrying it around the house to use it as "her space." Apparently that wasn't enough.
The comments left about this post over at Julia's have got me thinking about where I live, and why, and where we'd like to go, and why. This is actually a hot topic over here right now, because we do recognize that we have to move sometime within the first year or so of this baby joining us. The first year he will sleep with BigDaddyFish and me (we hope - Little Man actually didn't, because in spite of his nursing he slept through the night fairly early on and wasn't comfortable sleeping with us like his sisters did - we all slept better once he moved), but then once he needs to move we have no place to put him except maybe the family room, and that just seems weird. Or the basement - and that's a whole nother problem. So we have been examining long and hard what we need, what we can afford, and where we'd like to live.
We live in the DC burbs on the Maryland side. The burbs has a lot to recommend it - in fact, I grew up here in the burbs. We are close enough to the city to have the benefits of it within reasonable reach, but far enough out that we have fewer problems, though they are not all gone. Family and most of the only friends we've ever known live here. We have a comfortable, quiet neighborhood, good schools, a great library and public transportation system, wonderful recreation opportunities, and still have some open spaces for the kids to play. If it weren't for this newest baby, we would be here for quite a while.
We live in a 3-bedroom, 3 full and one half bathroom townhouse. It has a a loft over the master bedroom that houses our computer/office equipment, as BDF is a contractor that really lacks a "true" office - he has space on client site, and a cube available offsite, but it is more of a "hotel" space than an actual office. We have a large kitchen that is bright and airy, with skylights and a bumpout area over our full deck. The deck overlooks the forest, because we live on the edge of a large park and lake, which happens to be a drinking water reservoir, and so will never be developed like most of the county here. We have a full basement that was useless until recently due to the water leak; we are slowly trying to dig out of the mess (we've kept far too much stuff for far too long), and use the space as a playroom or family room rather than the storage room it has been for years. It is a really, really nice house, for a townhouse.
But it does have its problems. The two bedrooms that are not the master bedroom are really, really small. Little Man's room really cannot hold another child - it was clearly sized to be nothing other than an office or a nursery. We've got a reasonable solution for him with a captain's bed with drawers underneath it, and his dresser with shelves over it, but the closet is practially nonexistent, and he can't keep many toys in his room. The girls' room is larger, but once Sunny needs a big kid bed (she's in a toddler bed now) the space just will not work without compromises I'm not willing to make. We could bunk them, but in order to do that we'd have to get rid of Trout's bed, which was my bed when I was a kid, and matches the rest of the bedroom furniture. It is an heirloom quality, four poster bed with canopy. We have the canopy removed until the girls are older, to prevent anyone from hanging on it and destroying it, but it is a lovely bed, and Trout loves it. It is just a twin size, so it doesn't take up that much room, and I'm just not willing to let it go. We could find a different solution, but the windows in the room come down to within 2 feet of the floor, so we can't put a bed in front of the windows because someone will end up falling through a window, and that would be bad. Since we are the end unit, we only have neighbors attached to one side, but that's still neighbors attached to one side that we have to work hard to be considerate of, which is a bit of a challenge with so many kids in the house. Our yard is so small it can be cut with scissors.
As far as the area is concerned, it has its cons, too. Commutes are insane. It is really hard to find affordable housing near where you work. The subway system was designed to get commuters into and out of the city from the burbs every day, but the reality is that now people are going burb to burb more than into and out of the city. And due to housing costs, people have had to move further out than where the subway reaches. Crime is higher here in the DC burbs than in many other similar suburban areas.
Then there's the expense. It is costly, costly, costly to live here. Average home prices are $650,000. Taxes are crazy. Commutes average something like 45 minutes each way, and the cost of gas is higher here than most of the country (as I've witnessed first hand on many road trips). BigDaddyFish's commute is currently 45 minutes from here to his client site, and about 45 minutes to one hour to the main office in Virginia. If he tried to do it during the rush time (I can't say rush hour because it's more like 3 hours), it takes twice as long, if he's lucky. Flex time is great, but it still means he doesn't see much of the kids during the day during the week. It is more expensive to move closer to his office, and the client site is in SouthEast Washington. Go ahead, google it. 'Nuff said.
We bought our house at a good time, back in 99, for about $180K. Our property taxes alone are $3500/year, and climbing right now due to higher assessments. If we had sold this house six months ago when the real estate market here was still hot, we would have gotten $450K for it. So why didn't we do it? No place to go. We want to move up to a single family house, the next logical step from here. BigDaddyFish would really like to have a little land so we can have a garden. That will cost us at least $575K. We've looked at plenty of single family houses that are less, but they are smaller than this house, including the bedrooms, with yards not much bigger than this one. The other option is going further out. BigDaddyFish's commute is already too long, and we really don't want to make it worse.
Having gone to rural western PA this past weekend, we really got to thinking about how that area compares to here. The air was clean, the rolling countryside was beautiful, and prices were way way lower (1.39/lb for red grapes, vs. $4/lb here - why?? truck has to go just as far...). It was a slower, more peaceful way of life. The people weren't pretentious and stressed out like they are here. There was a sense of freedom that was intoxicating. But...
But. There's always a but, isn't there? There isn't much of an economic base. You have to drive a couple of towns over to find a grocery store, and there isn't much competition. Here, if you don't like a particular grocery, go a couple miles away, and you'll find another. The lack of resources for things like medical care was astounding to me - BDF picked up a phone book and some other literature, and he said "You know, there's an OB in XXX town." One. OB. For who knows how large an area. I love that I have many choices in my medical care available, that if I didn't Iike my OB (who I love, incidentally), or my pediatrician, or thought they were incompetent or giving me care that was lacking, I have hundreds of choices to find a new, better one. I like that I have an emergency center 3 miles away, and a full service hospital within 10. If I didn't like that one for some reason, I have 3 more within 15 or so miles, and a bunch more slightly further away, including specialized services for cancer. They didn't have much in the way of libraries. And for the teenagers, there isn't much to do, which I think directly correlates to the fact that around there, people get married right out of high school and have kids right away, and can't take advantage of many of the opportunities that life has to offer. I was a WAY old mom out there, and I'm only 36.
I'm certainly not saying that there is anything wrong with living that kind of life. But BDF, who has been bugging me to chuck everything and become farmers, realized that we'd give up so much that is important to us if we did that. We like our libraries. We like the quality of our medical care. We like the fact that Target is nearby, and bookstores, and clothing stores, and shoe stores. We like the abundance and quality of our schools, and the fact that preschool is available if you want it. We like that there are lots of parks and playgrounds and pools and movie theaters and museums and things to do. He is a bit on the antisocial side, so he doesn't feel the need to have people around, but I do. He needs broadband (frankly, I do too, but not like he does), and UPS delivery. He needs maps that aren't line drawn, and actually include ALL the streets, not just the bigger ones.
Then there's what we want for our kids. We want our kids to make the most of the educational opportunities that are available in life. Not just college, but recreational, life-learning education. I think it is more likely that the kids will become more educated if they are surrounded by more, highly educated people. But we don't want them to become pretentious, or stressed out because they lack the freedom to just be. We don't want to put them at a disadvantage economically because it is so hard to get started in such an expensive area. We don't want them stuck here struggling because this is where their parents chose to be. We'd like something more in between. It's a tough balancing act.
So where does that leave us? Right here for now. We are investigating other places, trying to find a fit that is better for us. BDF makes his living as a computer programmer, so that does limit us somewhat to markets that can support that. I would be happy to go back to work, but I work as a writer/editor type person, so my work is more flexible as far as location, and my earning potential isn't as good as his. So, what about where you live? Do you think you live in an area that we would find to be a good fit? If so, let us know. Post your location and what it means to you. Both of us have always only lived here, except for brief stints in college, and we don't have the resources to go everywhere to see for ourselves. Can you help us narrow our search? I know the right place for us is out there - it just may not be where we are now.
P.S. Where the hell is my brain? DIVERSITY. I can count on one hand how many people of color, any color, we saw in PA. It is more diverse in my row of townhouses. Diversity is VERY important to us - we want our children to know many kinds of people and cultures.
It only took:
but, we have found the water leak. We homeowners were right in that we were sure it was somehow connected to the upstairs water supply, but wasn't all the way up there, since we didn't have any water damage in the walls or on the ceilings of the levels in between the bathrooms and the basement. We were also right in that it wasn't coming from outside. Even with the Biblical rain we had a couple of weeks ago, the basement stayed relatively dry. Are you ready? It was
a 1/4 inch plus sized break in the upstairs drain pipe, found by contractors listening to the wall with a stethoscope (knew that thing would come in handy someday), in the half-wall between my kitchen and my living room.
Wow. Thankfully, it is in a spot that did NOT involve ripping out my cabinets, and was actually in a spot that was fairly easy to fix. It is done, the basement is all patched up, the rest of my house is getting fixed up, so we can have the floor guy come in the next couple of months.
This place is gonna be too nice to leave.
Somewhat unrelated: Thought we were out of the Bermuda Triangle, but my SIL came down with the chicken pox yesterday. She is an EMT and got it from a patient she transported to the hospital. She has two little girls who've had the vaccine, so here's a real test for it. She's pretty sick, and I can't go help her because I'm pregnant. Hope she gets better soon.
Completely unrelated: Rainbow Trout's first loose tooth is really loose now, so I'd better get started on making a tooth fairy pillow soon. She teethed late, so this is late to lose, too, so she's really excited to finally be loosing her teeth. I'm dreading the orthodontic future.
About two years ago, we discovered mushrooms growing in the carpet in our basement. Mushrooms. Ick. This was in the outside wall of the house (we have an end-unit townhouse), not far under a pipe to the outside. Of course, we figured it was the pipe. We ripped the carpet up, tore a hole in the wall, ripped out sodden insulation to find: it wasn't the damn pipe. So we figured it was coming from outside. We dug holes, moved dirt, ripped off pieces of siding, ripped up boards off the deck, all to no avail. Still never could figure out where water was coming from. We just weren't ready to call in the professionals, probably due to a large opinion that people are going to take advantage of us if we don't know what the problem is specifically (in our defense, it has happened to us in the past, more than once), so we just let it go and decided to observe it.
A little over one year ago, I was cleaning the shower in our master bathroom when I noticed that the tile in the back of the shower was loose, and water was washing up behind it and little bits of drywall paper were flushing out the bottom. Huh. The basement leak is right below the shower. After we noticed the initial problem in the basement and ripped up the carpet/wall, we never grew mushrooms again, and it never got that wet again, just somewhat damp. We now guessed the leak was caused by the shower, and figured we knew how to get it fixed. We went to DisneyWorld a few weeks later, and turned off all the water to the house. That week, despite fairly heavy rain, the basement was bone dry. We had hit the jackpot.
Thus we began the arduous task of finding a contractor who A. wouldn't take advantage of us, B. did quality work, and C. we could actually afford. This took forever. I mean forever. We interviewed tons of people, most of whom wanted a king's ransom, or at least the equivalent of a year's tuition at a private university, which we couldn't afford. We finally, in October of last year, took out a home equity line of credit to finally get it done. We need a new house, and we can't sell this one until it's fixed. We had someone we thought we would use, but then a friend told us about a friend who had done some work for her, and she was really pleased. In January, he came and gave us an estimate. At less than half what anyone else had asked, and a licensed contractor with good references to boot. He was hired; the downside was we had to wait several months for him to start.
He started last Monday. Within one day, he and his helper guy had cut apart the old shower and taken it away. You see this coming, right?
No water problem. No sign of a leak at all. None.
Now, we needed the new shower anyway. The old one was a nightmare to clean, in fact it never looked clean, even after I had spent a weekend bleaching the hell out of it. We always had a mold problem on the ceiling above the shower, due to the fan issue. More about that later. The new shower is a composite model that is large pieces, and I can already see it will be a piece of cake to clean. Joy, and really not that expensive.
Our bathroom has a double sink, a shower, a separate tub, and the toilet is in a separate little closet by itself. We are having the shower replaced, the sink faucets replaced, the room painted, and new lighting installed over the top of the shower, because the place has always been a little dark. We are also having him address the mold problem. The ventilation fan is in the little closet with the toilet. It has never vented well to get moisture out of the bathroom, thus the mold problem. Despite the fact we didn't have a bathroom door. Well, we had one, we just took it off. More about that in a minute. So our solution, suggested by Wonderful Contractor, was to cut a small vent in the wall between the toilet and the rest of the bathroom, to help the fan do its job. He was going to do this. But in prepping the rest of the room, he took the fan off, and discovered....
It wasn't connected to the ductwork. It wasn't doing squat for ventilation. Yeah.
So, Wonderful Contractor will be fixing that, and needing to cut a hole in the ceiling outside my bedroom to fix it. Instead of cutting up the wall in the bathroom, he put a combo light/fan over the shower.
My bathroom's gonna be pretty.
When the drunks built this house they did some pretty strange crap. One of those things was hanging the door to the bathroom such that when the door was open, one of the double sinks was completely blocked. If it hung the other way, the light switches were blocked. WC got us a new door. It opens into the bedroom, and doesn't block much of anything.
WC will be here probably a total of a month, fixing not just the entire bathroom, but a bunch of other smaller crap all over the house that we don't have the time to do ourselves but must be done to sell the house. He is wonderful. We are so happy we hired him. You hear so many contractor nightmares, but our only complaint here is that WC has a lot of jobs and it is just him and one other guy, so you gotta wait a long time for him to get to you. But he's worth it.
Later I'll explain the whole Bermuda Triangle thing.
Sunday BigDaddyFish and I spent the day cleaning our bedroom. This may not sound like much, but for us this was a massive undertaking, since it really hadn't been done since Sunny was born. Really. She nursed for 2 years, a lot, and since I have clutter issues anyway, I found it really difficult to summon the energy and strength required to do it, so I didn't. So why now?
Because Monday morning contractors were coming to rip out our master bathroom and start over. Okay, so not that much, but we are doing a major overhaul of said bathroom, complete with brand spanking new shower, drywall work, ductwork, and paint.
So, since my family and close friends can see me be a slob but contractors can't, some major work had to be done. My room was piled high with huge mounds of clothes that don't fit any of our kids right now, but should sometime in the future, as well as a large number of rubbermaid tubs, bins, buckets, and other containers full of toys from the kids' rooms. BDF spent a lot of time going through the toys with the kids, deciding what to keep, what to pack away for the baby, and what to sell at a yard sale/donate to charity. The kids worked hard at it, fully understanding that we have to downsize so that we have a reasonable chance of selling our house when we find a new one we can actually afford (did I mention that we need a bigger house? Before the new baby turns one? Because the bedrooms here are too small? And we live in DC, which means we need $150K more than we have to do it?). RT is excited to sell her old toys and wants to donate the proceeds to Children's Hospital. She learned at CCD this past year that at Children's they treat EVERYONE, even kids whose families can't pay, and she's really stuck on this now. She saves a portion of her allowance to donate, too. It has become her pet charity, and I'm really pleased that at 6 1/2 she's found a cause that means something to her.
TheBoy just wants to have money to buy more toys for the new house. Since he really has the most toys, I'm okay with this for now, since it motivates him to get rid of stuff. We'll deal with charity soon enough (fact is, we donate a lot to charity every year, and I "encourage" the kids to participate by weeding out toys before every birthday and Christmas to "make room for new toys" and we donate all of those).
Sunny's easy, we just helped her pick the ones she played with the most, saved half of the rest for her baby brother, and put the others aside for the yard sale. We do call her Sunny for a reason.
We packed up a huge bucket and two large boxes of outgrown girl clothes to take to my cousin, who is having a baby girl in September, and I will be taking those to her next week. We then organized the rest of the clothes into the biggest rubbermaid bins we could find (I think they are 35 gallon or something, rather huge, I can't lift them when they are full) into categories: Too Big for RT, Too Small for TheBoy, and Too Small for RT but Too Big for Sunny, which we have actually 6 or so bins of that size for, since my SIL gave me all that her girls have outgrown. They are all full, complete with lids, and stacked in my loft. At least they are out of my bedroom.
Then there was much dusting and sorting and throwing out of junk, and packing away of books, books, books, since I am a voracious reader. I have a weakness for the $.01 used books on amazon, so I have a humongous library, mostly paperback mysteries. These were simply stacked along the walls when I ran out of shelf space. I sorted some for the yard sale, and the rest just boxed up for the inevitable storage place we will need to rent prior to putting our house on the market.
I also sorted out all of RT's winter clothes and put them in see-thru bins under her bed, to free up 2 drawers for Sunny. Sunny is now officially moved into what is now the girls' room.
I now have about 50 loads of laundry to do, but my room hasn't been this clean maybe ever, and the kids rooms are all clean/organized, and I'm getting a "new" bathroom in a beautiful shade of moss green that will be fabulous.
I'm probably not going to want to leave. But unless I want my son, who doesn't even have a name, much less been born, to sleep in my room until college, we need to go.
It will be hard to say good bye.
I just hope I can maintain the cleanliness long enough to sell it.
Next up: The Renovation, and Life from the Bermuda Triangle