Friday, March 31, 2006

Top ten signs it's time to build an addition

10. Before you sit down at your desk to get some work done you need to remove three Fisher Price Little People, a pile of graham cracker crumbs, and a leaking sippy cup full of what was once milk from in front of the computer keyboard.

9. You get dressed in the dark on tiptoes every morning so no one wakes up.

8. Your family hasn't come to visit in three years because they are tired of sleeping standing up in the furnace room.

7. You rent a Rug Doctor for the weekend, but your carpets just laugh at you.

6. Your kitchen wallpaper pattern is "early handprint"

5. You think that tearing your house apart, living amongst boxes and dust for 6 months, and spending every waking moment painting, nailing, or sanding something might just be what your marriage needs to give it a little spice.

4. You love a little sawdust in your coffee.

3. You've stopped repairing broken things in the house because whenever you look at them you think, "gee if we renovated, we'd just get rid of that".

2. The thought of staging a house for sale and thus keeping it clean for more than thirty seconds at a time frightens you to the depths of your soul.

1. You've decided to join the rest of America and explore the world of debt.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Renovation Will Be Blogified

Today this blog is going to take a bit of a different direction. Hilary and I are about to have a new baby, weighing in at approximately 1100 square feet and three stories high. You see, since Thing #2 joined our family, we decided we were running out of living space fast. We're currently living on top of each other, I'm tired of having to move Fisher Price animals off the desk in order to reach the computer, and Hilary is tired of me throwing out her stuff every time I felt like cleaning. It was time to either start shopping for a bigger home, or consider an addition. Trouble is, we generally like our house, love our yard, and enjoy the neighborhood. Plus, we just can't imagine keeping the house clean for more than five minutes at a time (especially since our house cleaner retired two months ago), what with our two rugrats doing their best to unclean it, and figured that staging a house for sale would be nearly impossible. So we considered our next best option.

The Renovation Revelation.

Renovation is in my genes far more then selling/buying. My dad is a retired architect, and in 1979 the family did a major addition on the Connecticut homestead, adding an entire second floor. I believe dad's almost done with that project. Additionally, my sister just finished a renovation on her house. To me, selling the house would be the wimp's way out. I mean, when prehistoric caveman decided he wanted a hot tub outside the cave, did he sell and move up to the Stalactite Plan by the park? No, he hired a heavy dinosaur to make a big footprint in the back yard, and filled the hole up with molten tar. then, he soaked his way to bliss until he got eaten by a velociraptor. Hilary is still trying to figure out if we're (okay I'm) completely nuts. Jury is still out. So dad came to town last fall, and we mapped out the grand scheme. It involves adding a new master BR and bath on top of our one-story family room, plus additional space coming off the back in the form of more basement area with a workshop (which I will reside in 24/7 when the girls hit their teens and start having feminine issues) and mudroom, a bigger family room and kitchen eating area, and a new deck. Plus, we decided it would be wise to re-orient some of the rooms, making the dining room into an office, the living room into a dining room, and a short list of other items. All in all, a pretty sizeable project. I will get into more details in upcoming postings, but at this point we've got the builder, the electrician, and the heating guy all set to go. Now, I'm deeply entrenched in figuring out how we're going to pay for all this. If that goes well, I expect groundbreaking (actually, deck demolishing) in about a week. And yes there will be pictures. Possibly injuries as well. But definitely beer, if anyone wants to come help.

My sister, a sort-of stay-at-home mom with lots of free time on her hands (come on, admit it Audra), worked out a scheme where for her renovation she became the day-laborer for the builder. Throughout the process she swore she was going to write a book on the process. But even after having the Order Of The Golden Crowbar bestowed upon her by a panel of experts (mom and dad), she still has yet to write a syllable. I'm going to attempt to avoid that by documenting the process throughout. So stay tuned for more. Expect gruesome details, a multimedia experience, fireworks, laser shows, and perhaps a review on a new power tool whenever the opportunity comes up. If all works well, much of it will be amusing. Some of it will be informative. A little bit might perhaps be boring and self serving. But in the end, you may find some value in all this. If so, please let me know.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

And that, your honor, is how I got the Band-Aid

Last night I came home from work to see Natalie pouting and pointing to a Band-Aid on her knee. I said to her, "what's the Band-aid for?" The following is a word-for-word, unedited transcript of the answer she gave me.

"When I was going to hunter's house, all we did was make dresses, like the one I have at home. And then when we were picking up Spencer, we had donuts - Easter donuts. We all got the same donuts. They had pink, purple and white frosting. And then when they dropped me off home, they stayed instead of went home when they dropped me off at my house when I came home. Then we played a little bit. Then I found a piece of tape stuck on my black sock. Me and Hunter, while she was drawing, I found a piece of tape. I said let's go find my magnifying glass in the white bin, but I couldn't find it. We were digging to the bottom, but I could not find it. so I said, "I have a safari kit downstairs". So we went downstairs to find my safari kit to see if my black magnifying glass was in my safari kit, which is the same color as my sock. so we went downstairs, and as I was walking I was singing, "Safarrrri. Safarrrri.". Then I tripped on my Little People House and popped my balloon. It was a red balloon. I called everybody and Hunter, Mommy, Spencer and Lisa all came to see what happened. I tripped on the thing and got a scratch. so we went upstairs and mommy got a Band-Aid. And that's where I got this Band-Aid."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Stuck in Chicago

Off topic a little bit, but oh well. It's Sunday evening. I should be in Minneapolis. But I'm not. I'm in Chicago at the lovely airport Hilton, a destination many a way-layed traveler knows about. Overall it could be worse, as I could be sleeping on the floor of the airport. But it's not all Heavenly Beds and honor bars.

My flight out of Pittsburgh today was at about 4:40 pm today. I got to the airport to discover the flight was delayed 20 minutes. Okay, no biggie. I can still make the connector out of Ohare. Well, once the flight took off, the usual midair time warp took care of any chance I had of making my connector. And of course, the other two possible flights to Minneapolis were booked solid. So, the woman on the counter said she could put me on a 7:00am flight Monday morning. She then asked, "which would you like to do?"

I replied with, "well, you haven't given me a choice.".

She said, "I need you to make a decision."

"On what? A decision implies options. You've given me one option. So guess what I'm gonna pick."

But wait, there's more.

I asked what they would be doing to set me up in a hotel. Answer? Nothing. She checked the system and found that the reason for the delay out of Pitt was for "cleaning". Meaning the time spent pulling the soda cans, newspapers, banana peels, and lost wallets out of the seatbacks. Because it was not a "mechanical issue", the hotel is not United's responsibility. I asked her why the plane was delayed into Pitt to begin with, and she said she didn't have that information. The best she could do was give me a voucher for a $99 rate at the aforementioned Hilton. Nice. Thank goodness for company expense reports.

Oh by the way, when I got on the flight in Pitt, the luggage racks were already full. So they made me check my roll-aboard. Which means it ain't with me now. While the friendly United customer care representative assured me it would be on the same plane as me the next morning, that don't give me no fresh underwear. The customer care rep then pulled out "Emergency Kit."

The emergency kit consists of everything you might need if you're stuck in a foreign city without your luggage. While one might think it includes fresh underwear, a toothbrush, and perhaps a sixpack of Rolling Rock, one would be mostly wrong. It contains:

-A toothbrush witha really short handle (Imagine breaking the handle of your toothbrush in half. That's what it's like to use).
-A tiny tube of Rembrandt toothpaste (so that's who buys Rembrandt toothpaste)
-A 2-inch long comb (for my eyebrows?)
-A bottle of Sea Salt body wash (sure hope I don't have any open cuts).
-A bottle of Sea Marine moisturizing shampoo (so I can smell like a Marine who's been at Sea?)
-A bottle of Marine Collagen conditioner (taken from the lips of real Marines?)
-A bottle of Hydrating Body Butter (So I stay moist while roasting?)
-A really dangerous looking disposable razor
-A tube of Transactive Foamless Shave Cream (I never really thought of shaving as a "transaction" before)
-A pipette full of Green Tea Eu De Toilette (which smelled surprisingly like a toilet someone poured tea into)
-This strangely designed cylinder about the size of half a roll of quarters, with no text on it except the word "deodorant". Oh, and when you push up on the bottom, the deodorant flies across the room.
-A brochure describing how I should be prepared to be revitalized by the sea, followed by two pages of small print describing the chemicals combined in these products to create the illusion of "the sea".

The next morning worked out far better. My 7am flight was on time, and my luggage was waiting for me in the bag claim office. So overall, I've been through worse. But never smelling like sea salt.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Waiting for Daddy to come home..

Waiting for Daddy to come home..
Originally uploaded by Tara C.

I came across this photo randomly on Flickr. The title and caption are what truly make it special. Make sure to click through to see the caption.

Man, I know that look....

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Happiness is...

Happiness is an entire winter without anyone throwing up.

It's when both kids go to bed before LOST comes on.

It's when neither wakes up at night.

It's when they both stay asleep until the coffee is made.

It's that rare fleeting moment when there's more clean laundry than dirty.

It's that one gem in a collection of ruined photos.

It's instance #3,921 when some stranger says, "oh, that red hair!"

It's the big hugs.

It's having a DVD player in the minivan.

It's the first Saturday of the month at the Home Depot Kids Clinic (come to think of it, it's any Saturday at Home Depot).

It's making it to the top.

It's sitting on the deck while the kids are on the swings.

It's making something for dinner slightly more exotic than chicken nuggets and french fries and having both of them eat it.

It's when they ask for seconds.

It's when they want ice cream and so do you.

It's the closing music to Barney.

It's when they come up with comments like the one below.

Pure genius

My wife said to our children, "I can't imagine you guys at 20 years old. I wish you could stay little forever."

My 5-year-old responded with, "Mom, you can't control that. We'll be little for as long as we need to be."

I wish I'd thought of that.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Where do I find this stuff?

I decided I it's time create a second blog. One that's got nothing to do with kids, parenthood, or toilet paper (well, maybe toilet paper). One where I can regularly mention the goofy stuff I come across on a regular basis. There's a link to it on the sidebar on the right, entitled Today's Discovery.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Hmm, Yale, or U Paris?

I just opened the mail to find a letter from PNC bank stating that an educational fund has been created which we might be interested in. the fund provides financial aid to any child of an attorney working in Allegheny County that wishes to attend either Yale or University of Paris.

Hmm, if I send my wife back to work (she was a lawyer in her pre-mom life), maybe I can get early admission for Natalie?

Get some coughy while you're there.

I was giving words to Natalie to spell.

Shoe? S-h-o-e
Basket? B-a-s-k-e-t.
Sneeze? S-n-e-e-'-s. Thats' right, Snee's. I asked her to use it in a sentence, and got, "I went to Snee's house".

I guess she's right.

Terlet Paper for Kids

This seems kinda neat, actually. The toilet paper has paw prints on four sheets and then a puppy on the fifth, so children can follow the tracks to the dog and tear off the right amount of toilet paper. "So cute you’d almost feel bad about using it to clean up poop." Funny, that's how I feel about cats.