Saturday, October 21, 2017

Laundry!

I'm doing laundry!  That normally wouldn't be too terribly exciting, but see,  I'm doing laundry at my own house! In my own washing machine that is actually hooked up to running water!  Because of city codes, we couldn't hook up the washer and dryer until the kitchen passed its final inspection.  Trent made that happen this week and I'm elated.  I am a lucky lady to have such a skilled husband.  

Man, I take so much for granted and having an in-house laundromat is a huge convenience, especially for a large family.  We can work through a dozen loads a week without any mishaps (like a bedwetting!),  so we give the washer and dryer a pretty good workout.  I can hear it chugging away in the laundry room while I write this,  and it makes me so happy.  It's like having my very own maid!   I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I've only been doing absolutely critical laundry for the past few months because leaving home to do the wash is so inconvenient.  It will be nice to have all the towels clean at the same time, or be able to do a late-night emergency load, or have clean sheets the same day.

I'm so spoiled.  And grateful today. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Shredded Jeans


Growing up, my brothers and I wore jeans a lot.  We wore them until they were "high waters" or until the waist was so tight you couldn't sit down in them anymore.  Then you passed them on down to the next kid (who was obviously delighted to get another batch of hand-me-downs, of course!).  That didn't actually happen very often, because we always wore out the knees first.  I don't know why we think of denim as being so tough when the knees rip through so fast!  I say that as a mother of boys.  I do remember my mother getting Tough Skins jeans at J.C. Penney - or was it Sears? - because they had a double layer of fabric at the knees.  To her, it was worth it.

When my first little boys were getting bigger, Shop Ko had a return program that if the kids wore out any clothing before they outgrew it, the store would replace the item.  I would drive several cities away to get Shop Ko jeans for my little dudes, even though they were noticeably thinner than the other brands.  I went back to get those holey jeans replaced over and over and over... until I got sick of it and quit shopping there.  Boys are HARD on jean-knees!

When our knees blew out, the jeans were candidates for cut-offs.  Mom would cut the jeans off at the knee-hole.  Hopefully the holes in both knees lined up.  If we were lucky, she would hem the cut ends, or we would just roll them up.  Those were our summer shorts.  But we did not wear them with holes in the knees.  Not at all.

As I'm getting to be an old-lady-person, I'm surprised at the jeans on the racks at the store that are pre-thrashed.  First the jeans were pre-washed, then pre-worn-in, and now you can pay good money to have them pre-worn-completely-out?  I have a hard time with the idea.

David had a pair of jeans with holes in the knees.  They were hand-me-downs from Chris or Ben, so they came by the knee-holes honestly.  Usually I take such jeans and add them to my enormous pile of old pants that I fully intend to make denim quilts out of.  One day.  Don't ask how large that pile is (it currently lives in multiple big boxes), or when "one day" is.  But David liked the jeans and kept wearing them.  He even took a razor blade to them and ever-so-carefully WHILE wearing the pants scraped a few new holes in the legs.  This does not compute.

The holes got larger after every washing, and I think after every wearing and every time someone looked at the jeans.  Thankfully, there came a day recently when there was more hole than jean and they were declared legally dead.  Even more fortunately, there wasn't enough fabric left to worry about imaginary denim quilts.

Farewell, holey jeans!  Let's go to the store and get you a pair of new pants.  I'll pick them out.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Zero Problem


I have a zero problem.  No, not zero problems - although that might be nice to try!  It happens when I am thinking about large numbers that have lots of zeros.  I know how much a house is worth, but I'm just as apt to say, "thirty thousand dollars" instead of "three hundred thousand."  That last zero makes a huge difference!  Some people are quite confused when I talk about numbers.  My husband has learned about this little quirk of mine, and doesn't bat an eye when I rattle off a number that is off by a magnitude of ten.  He calmly corrects the number and we laugh about my zero problem.

The other day, Trent was given cash as a payment.  He brought home the large bills and showed them to the kids.  Little Georgie's eyes got big as he looked at the money.  "Hey Mom!" he excitedly piped up, "Can I have 6 of those?"

Um, what?  That's an awful lot of money!  When I asked him to tell me more about why he needed money, he explained, "I need sixty cents right now."  Sixty cents... six hundred dollars... I guess I've passed on my zero problem and then some.  Yikes!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

New Carpet and Old Pipes

We scraped the ceilings, painted the walls, and put new carpet in our fixer upper of a house.  We have lots of work left to do (the tub doesn't run water, we have no washer or dryer, several rooms don't have light fixtures, only one bathroom has a working sink...) but that keeps us busy and out of trouble, right?  (sigh)

But at least the framework of walls, ceiling, and floor were complete.  And then David and Eddie noticed a squishy splishy spot in the middle of their room.  In the carpet.  The brand spanking new carpet.


After pulling up the new now-nasty carpet, ripping out the now-mildewing carpet pad, and removing some soggy wallboard, we found the problem.  An old pipe behind the wall had broken.  It was the pipe from the kitchen sink and dishwasher, so every time dirty water went down the drain, the pipe leaked.  (Bad words)

See how those two pipes don't line up anymore?  Not so much that they dump water all over the floor, because then we have noticed it faster and been able to fix it.  No, the dumb thing had to just drip for a long, long time.  Bah.

Fortunately, Ben and Chris were moving back to college just after then, so we could move David and Eddie out of the mold and mildew room.  For now, the oldy moldy nastiness has been cleaned out, but the wall is still open, the floor still needs a new pad, and the carpet still needs to be cleaned.

Couldn't the pipes have broken BEFORE we put the new carpet in??  I wonder what other treasures this old house has in store for us. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Dirty Dishes


Oh, I have a lot to say about last week's DesignMom feature!  I still can't believe that they really wanted to feature my house - my family.  I'm pinching myself.

I had so much fun with the photo shoot.  A friend came over and helped me scoot chairs and plump pillows and remove clutter and laugh.  Mostly, it's laughing that what is normally an every-day scene can be dolled up into a fancy-pants fashion photo.  It was so satisfying to see the inherent wonderfulness in my life - the beauty that I'm usually too busy to acknowledge.

A night or two later, I was headed to bed, trying my best to ignore the whisperings of the dirty dishes on the counter.  I really shouldn't leave them until morning, I know.  Not just because of flies and the health department, but mostly because my sweet husband does breakfast and a messy kitchen makes him crazy.  I appreciate that he takes the morning shift and I don't want him to have angst that early!

I was so tired, though!  I walked back to the bedroom with the image of the stack of soup bowls and piles of dirty spoons still flitting around in my head.  I'm grateful for those dishes.  It's a testimony that my family was well-fed tonight.  Before I could climb into bed, I just had to grab my camera and head back to the kitchen.  It only took a moment or two to grab the shot (and then I went to bed anyway).

The next day, I was looking through the raw files, getting ready to crop and edit the pictures to the format DesignMom wanted.  There, with all the pretty pictures was the shot of the dirty dishes, awkwardly hanging around the cheerleaders like a seventh grader with braces.  Oh yeah, that was me.

I don't know why I included that late-night picture.  I was sure they wouldn't use it in the article.  It wasn't prepped, it wasn't pretty, no natural light...who wants to see my dirty dinner dishes?

It's part of our life, and they included the picture in the home feature.  I gasped when I saw it, then bubbled up with giggles.  Really??

I guess we don't need to look that hard to find beauty in our lives.  Dirty dishes and all.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

DesignMom Feature!



I can hardly believe my good luck today!  Our home has been featured on DesignMom - a publication I've long read and admired.  I've been alternately excited, humbled, and terrified.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Bike Rack


I grew up on a bike.  I loved flying down the street, my timid feet planted firmly on the brake, so I wasn't really flying but going as darn fast as I dared.  My brother gave me a hard time about how slowly my "fast as I dared" was, but I won't go there today.

When my first boys were 2,4, and 6, Jay and I decided to spend Grandma Jeanne's Christmas money on little bikes for them.  Alec's bike was little.  Ben's bike was tiny, and the bicycle for Chris was downright tiny.  We had a large RV garage, so they pedaled their little hearts out, round and round the garage.  They arranged stacked boxes to make racetracks and spent hours in there.  Seeing their fun, of course Jay and I had to purchase bicycles for ourselves.  From then on, we rode bikes to school.  Alec and Ben parked their bikes carefully in the big bike rack, and Chris and I would head back home, stopping at the post office on the way.  It was an itty-bitty small town and we pedaled all over it.

A few months later, we moved to the Seattle area.  We found many bike trails snaking alongside the river and through town.  We packed up our dinner, loaded it into the bike trailer with Baby David, and rode off into the sunset.  What fun we had!

Not long after Eddie was born, a neighbor gave us their bike rack.  Huge and made of solid steel, it held all our bike upright and tangle free.  This is where the bicycles belong.  Not falling over each other, not on top of the sprinklers, not stashed into the bushes, not languishing on the front lawn.  What a wonderful organizational tool!

And do the children actually use it?  Ha.