I wanted a specific thing.  This is not a NEED but a WANT, I am well aware.  But I knew it would be too much $.  I've been saving (and the $ from my xmas bonus at work was earmarked for this thing).  At best, I thought I might get a check with $ toward the purchase of this specific thing.

My parents splurged big time and got the specific thing for me.

I have some new tech to play with (omg - I got *exactly* the specific thing I wanted!).

Plus my 5.5 y.o. nephew was extremely excited that he got to pick out gifts to give everyone, and was SUPER EXCITED to give me earrings (which probably sparked the whole family debate of whether or not I have my ears pierced.  My brother thought I did not, my s-i-l insisted I did.  For the record, they are double pierced - and have been at least single pierced for the last twenty-five years.).

I have never seen a little girl SO EXCITED to get a pair of boots (exactly the UGGS she wanted) as my almost ten y.o. niece.

It has been a super exhausting, but super good day.
etakyma: (Technobabble SG1)
( Jun. 16th, 2013 11:46 pm)
So Only Nephew, L, turns five in a couple of weeks, and as he and his sisters usually move to the Cape for the summer where his other set of grandparents have a home and they get to swim and sail at the boat club program, he decided this year he wanted to have a party with his school friends.

So Saturday I dropped by his party (a Lego party) which he had seven little friends from school.  Amidst the rain lately Saturday was an absolutely perfect, gorgeous day.  So he is five.

Today (Sunday) as I was having lunch with mom and dad my brother brought over the kids and I had that yearly conversation I dread with B.

B: Aunt A?  Why aren't you married?

argh.  Cue tearing of hair in frustration.  Why must we have this conversation every few months?  Yes, I am single, yes, I did not produce children.  Yes, I am completely OKAY with all of that.  B is NINE FRICKIN' YEARS OLD.

WHY must she persist in questioning my life choices?

We had a fairly short but serious conversation about yes I could have gotten married, but I was very young at the time and decided I wasn't ready even if he was (and he was even younger than I was at the time).  And yes, I could have had children, but for much the same reason as I didn't marry, I never felt ready, and I am definitely not going to go into single parenthood just so I can be a parent.  Parenthood is not a driving need in my life.  I just do not have that "biological clock" urge to procreate many women talk about.

Oy.  Well, at least I know now we have Had The Talk, I'll have a few months to a year reprieve before she decides to tilt at that windmill again.
Christmas came and went - a very low-key Christmas, which is all to the good.  Dad was released from the hospital directly home.  There was talk of him going to rehab, but decided home nurse visits would be what he needed rather than in unit somewhere dreadful.  So he came home on December 16th.  He's been getting stronger ever since, and late last week his cardiologist gave him back his car keys - which means he is driving himself to the mall to do his walking therapy (too cold and too much snow/ice to walk around the outdoor track, and he needs it to be a level surface - so the mall it is!).

Today he even showed up at the gallery with the dog.  He really shouldn't have had the dog with him (muscular 70 pound Lab) because he shouldn't be pulled - but I guess it all went okay.  Interesting things I did not know about cardiac surgery.... when they do the "long cut" (from just under the throat notch to around the diaphragm area) there is less pain, and easier recovery than if they do the "short cut."  Longer scar, but easier path back to health.  Dad had the "long cut."  He was only on heavy duty pain killers while he was in the cardiac ICU unit, and off them completely pretty much before he left that unit to go to the step-down unit.  And he's only had to take the prescribed pain meds once since he got home (first full day home, he had trouble readjusting to a non-adjusting bed - completely normal).  He is healing well.

I spent a lot of time at the gallery today, because not only did we redo both windows (wtf? both?) we also took down the Christmas ornaments and cards and things, which necessitated the reorganization of the whole front of the shop - and then the cleanup of all the holes left in displays around the shop.  In between customers, of course.

My "big gift" this Christmas from my parents was exactly what I asked for.  I got an airbrush - which I spent a lot of Saturday playing with.  So damned cool, I can't even.  It has much much MUCH better control than I realized, and learning the ins and outs is going to a hell of a lot of fun.  I am using it with ink at the moment.  I have some fluid medium that I can mix with regular acrylic, but I am not really ready for that yet - the ink will let me learn with fairly easy cleanup.   It is pretty and shiny and I will be hauling the whole rig over to my folks in a couple of weeks to show my mother how it works.

Went to NYC for New Years (no, not Times Square - but we did see the fireworks in Central Park).  It was awesome, and exactly what I needed - a few days away.  I spent more money than I should have, but less than I expected to all told.  I used the cash "holiday gift" that work gave out at the holiday party - pretty much exclusively all weekend.

Second year in a row Bergdorf Goodman blew us away with their holiday windows.  They were spectacular.  Even the one or two we were less fond of were amazingly well thought out and executed.

While I was gone we got TEN inches of snow... which had compressed itself down to about four inches by the time I returned.  I had no idea it was ten inches until my mom told me today.  Oddly enough, someone plowed my drive while I was gone, because it was very clear it had been plowed.  The walkways hadn't been touched, but the driveway was mostly clear.  Weird.  No idea which neighbor gave me the New Year's gift of a plowed drive... But I won't turn it down (since I was a couple hundred miles away when it happened...)!

G turned ELEVEN last week.  ELEVEN!  Soon, she'll be taller than me...
etakyma: (Default)
( Nov. 13th, 2012 10:53 am)
So my s-i-l is in Florida until tomorrow seeing her grandmother. My brother has been alone with the kids since Friday. Sunday, he brought them over to my folks' house so he could fix the decking and entrance to their house, and my mom and dad could play with the kids.

It was fun - we got into all kinds of mischief. I found out the oldest, G, who sepent the last couple of years half-heartedly playing the upright bass and the violin is FINALLY learning an instrument she likes! She is playing the Saxophone! I've always wanted to play the saxophone - I don't have the manual dexterity required of it in my left hand anymore. But she LOVES the saxophone! Both my mom and I are delighted - we're both a little soft over the type of sound the sax is capable of.

B went off mid-afternoon for soccer evaluations. Came back after all sweaty and windblown, having had a lot of fun. L spent the afternoon flitting from one activity to another. After B had returned my mother mentioned Max needed washing. So the kids and I washed the dog (mom just supervised and kept them on task)... I got a LOT wetter than when my mother and I wash the dog... G had hold of the nozzle for a bit. B thought washing the dog was great fun in theory - but when it came down to it, really didn't like getting wet, soapy, or having Max's fur come off on her hands.

L kept opening the door to see what was going on, and I had to hold Max pretty firmly so we didn't have a wet, soapy dog running amuck through the house. We kept telling L to make a choice, in or out and he kept choosing out. But he really wanted to be in, and so the door kept opening and I got wetter and wetter and wetter.
etakyma: (Default)
( Jun. 11th, 2012 10:37 pm)
A disjointed "status of me" kind of update:

So I lit the spring ballet all day yesterday. One of the young women who was a lead dancer was having a wonderful time and while all her movements looked correct she was the most awkward dancer I've ever seen. Sometimes, no matter how much you practice, how much fun you're having or how well you execute the individual movements, some people just are not graceful. I know I am one of them, but then I am not dancing in a ballet (where I would likely be as graceful as a pig on roller blades).

One of the leads - in fact the princess lead - just graduated HS. She IS a graceful dancer. She also comes with an engineer dad. Which is only important in that he figured out how to make a hydrolic lift growing tree for the Nutcracker last December. And he made a couple of flats (the HEAVIEST flats I've ever had the displeasure to move - but they won't ever fall over!) He is sweet - and handy! And it is so nice to see dads who are just as involved with their daughters dancing and work to make their kid's shows better. If either of my nieces (or my nephew!) were interested in dance I expect my brother would be right there. As it is both girls are more athletic and the boy is not yet four (omg he turns four at the end of the month! yikes!).

Didn't sleep much (or well) last night. Hoping tonight I will collapse and sleep soundly!

Plans for the fake fire are moving a-pace. it will end up being about three feet long and maybe one foot wide.

I've got a number of projects that are nearing fruition - which is good because their deadlines are "dead" firm!

I got my annual review - and it was favorable. Which is also very good!
Unexpectedly saw my nieces and nephew Sunday afternoon.

L, my three-and-a-half year old nephew asked me, in all seriousness, if I had a "daddy" - and I replied I do, and he is standing behind you, and you call him Grandpa.

No, he said, sort of garbled (he was eating a chocolate "gingerbread man" at the time), at your house, do you have one?

I must have looked as confused as I felt because B (newly minted eight and obsessed with my single status) piped right up and said, he wants to know if you have a husband! o.O O.o

Cue awkward silence.

No, L, I do not have a husband. Or a "daddy at my house."

Is B infecting her little brother with the notion I need to be paired off? Is he just curious because everyone else in his life comes in pairs and he is confused why I don't? I mean, my parents (my mother described herself today as happily married), L's parents, K's folks - L's other grandparents, K's brother and his wife (while not "happily married" and possibly headed for divorce, they are still a pair as far as L knows).

And me. The lone singleton.

I should ask K if any of her other sister-in-law's siblings are single and if they get the third degree from B also - or if I'm the lucky one to have all that intense scrutiny on me.
etakyma: (Anton and Steffan MofRD)
( Jan. 15th, 2012 08:07 pm)
We celebrated my mom's birthday today (its really tomorrow). Lunch with the fam is always a barrel of laughs.

My younger niece, B, is a complete chatterbox who does not know when to be quiet or quit asking the same questions (she is incredibly single-mindedly persistant). She is the one who, at five asked if I had pet and then told me I could get a baby (like I could pick one up at the corner store).

She is turning eight next month and today's conversation went a little like this:

Aunt A? Do you have any children?
No, B, You would know them if I did. They'd be cousins like K (their cousin on their mom's side)
Oh. That's too bad.
Well. I don't think its too bad. I wouldn't be able to spend my time with you if I had kids of my own.
Aunt A? Are you married?
(at this point I'm a little wtf?)
No, B, you would know if I was married, you would know him. He'd be your Uncle.
Oh. That's too bad. (this was said slightly less sincerely)
Well. I don't think its too bad, I'm pretty happy as I am.
Aunt A? Do you have any pets?
No, B. I live by myself.
Oh. Don't you get lonely?
No B. I really really don't.

And then I proceeded to tell her we've had the same conversation several times over the past several years. And I was hoping that we'd not have to have it again. She made no promises.

Ugh. I really don't like being grilled by my ALMOST EIGHT YEAR OLD niece on my marital and family planning status. I mean, I can take it from my grandfathers - each of them asked in his own way before he died if I was going to get married (ever), and as one died when I was in my mid twenties and one died when I was in my mid thirties, I didn't really have a good answer for either other than, "maybe if I find the right person." I'm okay with defending my life choices to my grandparents (all of whom are now gone because I am Just That Old), but not to my niece.

Yes, I could have a baby, or a spouse, or a PET even if I chose to do so. I could adopt or get artificially inseminated or any number of things. But I am not ITCHING to bring a child into the world or rear one myself. I really am OKAY with that.

My S-I-L told me that even now, all B wants is to be a mother herself. She has always been all about the baby dolls. I sure hope this dream doesn't come true TOO quickly. Maybe not before she is twenty-eight or so? Because this one has A LOT of maturing to do!
etakyma: (Default)
( Jan. 3rd, 2012 12:11 am)
I got home from New Years in New York City (awesome time, avoided Times Square like whoa, and hung out in Central Park for fireworks at midnight. Sadly we ended up next to the Asshat Hipsters Who Were Loud and Annoying. We moved away from them finally (omg if I had to listen to one of them congratulate himself for having a passing resemblance to Eric Stoltz one more time I might have killed him. With a book. Because apparently, that is something I seem to be capable of).

Fireworks were spectacular, Central Park was wall to wall people (the night was fairly mild, so people were all over the city).

Bergdorf Goodman's holiday windows were far and above the absolute best in the city. Macy's kind of were a let down and looked amaturish, and Saks Fifth Avenue's out and out sucked.

I got the bus home and arrived Just in Time to have cake with my brother's family for G's TENTH birthday. She got her ears pierced today as part of her birthday. Lovely end to a wonderful holiday weekend. Back to work tomorrow. Ugh!
Spending the morning with my brother's kids. By the time they left Nephew L (3 and a half) was desperately NEEDING a nap - K said he's been wound up all week in excitement and besides that he's at the age where nap-taking is difficult and sort a hit or miss proposition.

G, turning ten-next-week, is a goofy goofy kid. She is not a girly girl - prefers jeans and tees and sweatshirts to any thing else. Cares not a jot about her hair (which is very curly like mine, but a pretty golden brown like my brother's). But then she also spent some time using the cast off wrapping paper to make a "gown" and swan around the room in it acting silly (my mom got pictures).

B, will-be-eight-in-february, is all about the shine and sparkle and bling. Apparently, she was wearing a shirt her Nammy (her mom's mom) got for G, but G never ever wore it - it was a pretty soft grey shirt with a large slightly wonky heart shape in black. K said she finally put it in B's closet on Saturday, and made a bet with my brother "she's going to come down in that this morning - its new!" sure enough it was "Mommy - look, a new shirt - I found it in my closet!"

Their Nammy also took all the granddaughters to get tinsel in their hair the weekend after Thanksgiving - even K got some. B's tinsel strands were purple and lavendar, G's were crystal and silver, and K's were reddish bronze. It is a fad, I guess, that is not-quite-here (as in there are only a couple of places in the wider New England area that offer it). And the each only got one bit of it (about four strands in one spot). I guess celebrities have been seen with this stuff? I don't know.

The thing they got was something they couldn't stop playing with was from me. I found these moldable filled with not-sand rubber covered "heads" that could be shifted and pinched and pulled into forms and then "whacked" back into neutral. They had two eyes made of stickers and a bit of yarn glued to the top for hair. They are washable. I got one in pink and one in blue and figured Luca was a bit too young. The girls loved these strange things! I found them at a night market in Taiwan and paid less than $3 US for each. I had no idea this would be the thing they couldn't keep their hands off of. My mom gave them extra stickers for eyes (they kept falling off because little fingers kept poking, prodding and picking at them).

They're off to DisneyWorld today - their Ogo (mom's dad) is taking the whole family via frequent flier miles (that is Nammy, Ogo, M, K, and the kids G, B, and L - that is a LOT of miles)! But then Ogo has been traveling for business nearly every week for years. Plus - four adults and three kids? ALMOST the right ratio of kids to adults! K's grandmother and great aunt live in Florida and are traveling up to stay with the family in Orlando for the week and spend time with the great grand children.

My parents gave the kids bean bag chairs - ginourmous ones. Ones they could lounge on with a couple of other kids and all still be comfortable. B had asked and asked for one for Christmas, and my parents got it for her.

G has been lobbying on behalf of her little brother for an electric jeep he can ride around in. For months she's been talking about it and when she helped him write his letter to Santa she asked for it. I guess this summer, their cousin E had one that L just adored - and G has been going on and on that L would love something like that. Well, he got it!

I know B's gift from Santa was an iPod Touch. I don't know if G got one too or not, she didn't say. It didn't seem to me that G was all that concerned about opening presents - she wanted to see everyone else open theirs, but she didn't seem to want to open her own. Goofy goofy kid.

After they all went home, I spent the rest of the day with my folks.

It was a good day.
etakyma: (Default)
( Nov. 25th, 2011 12:55 am)
And now its not.

My brother and sister in law hosted this year - and I don't think they could have done so if they hadn't moved into the upstairs bedrooms in the addition. Because they were able to ove into the upstairs bedrooms (and wow - they look really nice!) they had the space to empty out the study/library off all the furniture and put the double table in there.

They fit five kids under the age of 10 and ten adults around the table (my sister-in-law is the youngest adult, as she is four months younger than me). Plus their elderly golden retriever. The spread was epic - and yes, there was turkey even though the vegetarians hosted. The in-laws brought the turkey, gravy, and pies.

I brought a box of chocolates (about all I was mentally capable of seeing as I am still jetlagged as whoa and falling asleep at odd times and waking up in the middle of the night (hi midnight - I WAS asleep - quite happily too, and now I'm NOT... what do I do when I can't sleep? I'm blogging. Oy).

My three-and-a-half year old nephew L (our youngest person at the table) is a major chocoholic. He is a very good eater, but he *loves* chocolate. K's brother (also K) brought a chocolate chip pumpkin cake that L ate the chocolate chip out of his piece (funniest thing I saw).

And I saw G's (my nearly-ten year old niece) multimedia geneology report about my (my father's father) side of the family - funniest bit was about my great grandfather and his brother being run out of Italy because of the Sicilian mob (true family legend).

Story goes Great Great Uncle Luigi's wife had taken up with a mob boss and he (Luigi) had broken into the house and stolen back the bedroom set (that he had made, as he was a cabinet/furniture maker). The mob boss was not pleased. So Umberto (my great great grandfather) brought Luigi to the US. Don't know what happened to the famous bedroom set. Of course G's report only said the Sicilian mob was mad at Luigi so he came here. I filled in the other bits since it is a family legend of how we came to the US in 190whatever.

My father's mother and my mother's parents and K's parents parents parents (possibly parents) (her mother's side has been here a long damned time) stories aren't nearly so colorful. Although my father's mother's parents came in 1880s and were first cousins. Which for Italy in the 1880s was not such a strange thing. Most possibly an arranged marriage.

Anyway. Now I'm just babbling nonsense so I'm gonna give sleeping another go. Hope everyone who celebrates had a lovely Thanksgiving!
Flying to the San Francisco Bay (Fremont) area tomorrow late afternoon. I'll be in Fremont Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday - flying home on the red eye Thursday night into Friday morning, and then flying to Orlando, FL on Saturday (home Monday night).

So! I'll be online, but likely doing a million other things at the same time (Tuesday I expect to be offline for a good part of the day).

Today we finally gave L (who turned 3 this summer - when he and his mom and sisters were on the Cape) his (un)birthday gifts. We had a little party with lunch and cupcakes. And then we played Sardines and Hide and Seek. K (my S-I-L) hid first for the first game of Sardines (one person hides, everyone seeks, and as each person finds her they join her in her hiding spot). She hid in the laundry on top of the dryer. My brother found her first and squeezed himself into the space next to the washer. I found them next and had to quietly displace a couple of the dirty clothes sorting hampers to join them. And then it took a good five minutes for anyone else to find us.

After that we played plain (unfancy) hide and seek - and both my brother and my dad cheated by moving spots. My dad was actually very clever. He left his slippers in the middle of the floor in the living room, and (as seeker) I came into the house from the deck and cleared the kitchen/family room first, and after I'd passed by he snuck into the kitchen behind me to sit on the floor next to the door. My brother just chose a really uncomfortable place to hide and it took so long for someone to find him he moved.

All in all it was a very enjoyable day. And now I gotta pack for BOTH trips.
So my S-I-L mentioned today that she has been reading with the girls - my nieces are almost-10 and gonna-be-eight. They started a book that K (my S-I-L) described as being "too old" for them. She did not mean "too mature" or "age-inappropriate" she meant just "too OLD." The use of words were strange and confusing, and (I expect B, the younger girl) doesn't have the patience to let the story flow until the cadence of the words make it become a little clearer. I can imagine B would question everything - what is that, what does that mean, etc. G, the older girl, would probably just puzzle it out and let the story be told, knowing that she'll understand the mannerisms more as time goes on and the story unfolds.

They are reading an E. Nesbit book. Not one I've read, but it was published in 1907. Books from the a few decades later - the 30s 40s and 50s they don't seem to have any trouble with - I gave G the Elizabeth Enright quartet for Christmas and they didn't seem to have any trouble with it - depression into WWII era that it is.

Now, I remember Nesbit being pretty formal language-wise, and also terribly English - so perhaps that is part of it. Apparently a lot of the descriptions were difficult to suss out for them - rich descriptions of the land and such.

Now, when I was G's age I was given (by my crazy grandmother) a book written in 1881 which I loved, quite literally to pieces. I still have all the pieces bound together with string. I have replaced the book a couple of times with hardcover copies, but that first book, printed probably sometime in the sixties or seventies if I recall the cover, opened up the use of language in fiction. I love books written between 1880 and 1930 or so - especially those for children. Of course I focused on American authors - Gene Stratton Porter, Eleanor Porter, Margaret Sidney, Inez Haynes Irwin (Gillmore), Louisa May Alcott, Thornton Burgess, etc., so perhaps the language is or was more accessible to me.

Of course, I was a different sort of reader then either B or G. I got a beautiful copy of Jane Eyre as a birthday gift from my uncle when I was a tween and my mother and I read it together - the bits of french and all! At the same time I ate up science fiction and fantasy novels - any I could find.

Are there any books you tried to read as a kid, or with your kids, that you found unaccessible because of language barriers? Or do you think that is Not An Excuse to Put Down a Book? As reading is currently a group activity, I can see where it would be frustrating to have to inturrpt the story every few minutes to explain what the author is talking about. Especially as B is a chatterbox who does not settle down and do anything quietly - she is wired Always On - which is exhausting anyway.
Saw the progress on my brother's house today. The girls rooms are carpeted and the trim is going up. The carpet in G's room is pale blue - to match the color on the wall, and it has a pattern of very small squares, that makes an almost-herringbone type of pattern. B's carpet is varigrated pink and green stripes - to go with her pale pink walls. Apparently K found her canopy bed (sans canopy) on Craigslist. K will make the canopy for it (I suggested sari fabric - but we'll see what actually happens!). G's bed is something else - she found something she liked but it was $$$$$ to get the "kit" to make it. My brother will probably end up making it since she wants something pretty rustic looking, I understand.

The master bedroom carpet is a luxurious creamy beige - in a square relief pattern (and since we were wandering around the upstairs barefoot at his request, I got to sink my toesies into the pile - lovely!

Doors have door nobs and all. Thresh holds aren't in yet, but the pot lights are in and dimmer switches are working. Closet lights aren't quite in yet - but the wiring has been completed for it. The upstairs hallway hardwood floor is GORGEOUS - it had been installed but not finished the last time I saw it. It is stained and varnished a lovely pale amber color. And he's really thought very hard about how to turn the corner with the wood.

The tile has been picked out for both the laundry room and the hall bath (but not quite ordered - M is waiting a couple of extra days in case K changes her mind AGAIN).

As soon as the newel posts are complete and the railing is in around the stairs he can get the upstairs of the house inspected and certified for occupancy. And then his family can come home just in time to get settled into their new bedrooms before starting school.

In other news my folks are going away midweek, so I'll be moving into their house for a couple of days to care for their dog (and do lots of laundry!) and then I'll be leaving on vacation myself on Friday, when my brother will take over care of the pup until my folks return on Sunday.
When they first moved into their current home, my sister-in-law was pregnant with B, their second of three kids. B is now seven years old (as of February). When they moved in the house was a five room (two bedroom, 1 and 3/4 bath home) in the center of a lovely NE town (the same town I grew up in, and where my parents still live - although they are on the south side, and my brother and family live in the center).

My brother immediately started renovating the inside to make it livable - the two bedrooms had never been completed - the man that built (and died in) the house was quite elderly, and didn't climb stairs, so he lived in the three rooms on the ground floor. M (my brother) had to install flooring in the two bedrooms. So the summer K (my SIL) was pregnant with B she spent living with her folks (and G who was two at the time), and M spent the summer, when he wasn't working, completing the house enough so his family could move in. The kids are in the two bedrooms and M and K have their "bedroom" in the tiny den on the first floor.

He has spent the seven years since B's birth planning and building the "addition" to the house - which happens to more than double the square footage of the house, and added a two-car garage.

The architectural plans were done by man who knows how to design an addition that will seamlessly expand the current look and feel of the house. M bartered for the plans. M is an artist (amongst his other talents), and at the time was working on a commission for the Eastman School of Music - a portrait of our grandfather for their portrait gallery. So instead of paying thousands of dollars for the plans, he did a portrait of the architect's daughter (and a couple of landscapes of land the architect owns on the Cape).

Three years in to the build (since he is doing 95% of the work himself) the cellar was excavated, and cement was in, the framing was up, and the exterior shell was weatherproof - windows and doors were in, garage was complete, and the shingles were on. None of the interior walls were up the last time I saw the house, which was about three years ago.

My mom took me over to see it today - since M was spending the long weekend trying to get a little closer to moving the family into the new bedrooms - because if the girls spend one more school year sharing a very tiny space we might have WWIII on our hands.

The plumbing and electric has all been done, and the walls are roughed in (drywall up, mudded and all - but the interior window sills have not been finished yet) - in some places the walls are even painted! There are stacks of hard wood for flooring planks in what WILL be the family/livingroom/kitchen waiting to be installed. The original plans only had a one-car garage, but when he expanded it to a two-car garage he left the girl's bedrooms the same size - but that expanded their closets - so they have the most AMAZING walk-in closets ever - with beautiful hand built built-in shelves and shoe towers (because my brother wouldn't do anything so mundane as buy ready-made anything).

The girls will share the new upstairs hall bath - L, their little brother (who just turned three) will remain in the original part of the house and have his current bedroom and the space where the girls' bedroom is, and the current upstairs bath to himself. Which I think he will be glad of when G is fifteen/sixteen/seventeen, B is thirteen/fourteen/fifteen, and he is nine/ten/eleven - living on the opposite side of the house from his teenage sisters. He'll still be a boy - and they will be rolling balls of hormones and hysterics (I know - I was once a teenage girl). That space will probably be a huge relief to him.

The master bedroom is gorgeous - with a closet slightly smaller than the girls' closets for M and a *huge* walk in closet for K - this closet is the size of my smallest bedroom! The master bath has a gorgeous oval soaker tub and a separate shower - but none of the tile or fixtures other than the tubs are in yet. The upstairs also houses the laundry room - which is probably a space about ten by ten feet, and two hall closets - linens and sheets, maybe? Perhaps one will house all the cleaning products?

The floors are in, but as yet unstained, in the upstairs hallway, and he is working on finishing the stairs and the newel posts for the bannisters. The bedrooms will be carpeted - that isn't in yet either. He showed off his pin-nail gun. And mentioned a couple of the windows "sprung" and before he finishes them he's got the replace them - what he means is that the seal broke on them and condensation got inside the panes - but the windows are under a twenty-year warranty so all he has to do is call them and they send him replacements. He'll replace the ones that "sprung" before he puts up the interior finishes - sills and framing.

The what-will-be-the-new-kitchen area is his current workroom - and the kitchen will be the last are of the house he finishes before he breaks through the wall to the current kitchen and joins the ground floors together. The upstairs he'll break through the wall as soon as the upstairs is ready to be occupied - but he can't break through before, because the wall where he will break through is currently where the girls' built-in bunk beds are in their bedroom (he built the beds when they moved the girls in together when L was born, because the roof line right there is weird, and there isn't the head space for standard bunk beds. He also built desks for them that fit the space they had in the very small room.).

He is planning the design and building the kitchen cabinets himself. Since he did this for his first house (and learned a LOT about making kitchen cabinets) I have no doubt his kitchen will be amazing once complete.

All in all I was incredibly impressed with where he is now.

I see a lot of work that the house needs, and K and the kids will be very lonely for him, and he will be very lonely for them, but they should have new bedrooms/bathrooms come September and they'll be back from the Cape, moved into the new rooms. Only a year late - he'd wanted to get them moved in last fall - but I think the summer he broke his collarbone (nearly exactly two years ago) put him way behind his schedule. All in all he is building it on his off hours from his day job (sys admin) and as he scrapes up the funds to buy materials and tools. My dad has tried a couple of times to give him money for various pieces of the project - but I don't know if he has been successful at getting M to accept at all. I think his frustration with my brother was what made him offer to redo my bathroom when the tiles were falling off the wall in the tub surround (the really bad tile job the previous owners had done was not done correctly - neither the mortar, grout or backing board was done correctly, so water had done its level best to rot out the backing board behind the (really ugly) tile). Since I didn't have the funds to do it at the time (three years ago) I accepted - and he paid for the tiling of the floor and tub surround, the new toilet, and the new vanity. I have no idea how much it cost, but it made him feel good to do it for me - and it allowed me to use the money I'd saved for house repairs to fix the roofline fascia and replace the gutters that were rotted out and falling off.
etakyma: (HP Up to No Good)
( Jan. 3rd, 2011 12:00 am)
Our January thaw hit early this year. Yesterday we got up into the mid fifties, and today we were just shy of fifty degrees. The snow is melting at a very rapid rate (we got seventeen inches last a week ago). Today, we had snow fog. It is not a foggy day, but the snow is melting so fast, there is a mist hanging over everything, even though the sun may be shining and the sky blue.

Today is also my eldest niece's birthday! She is now NINE years old. Which is shocking and distressing. She is becoming a TWEEN. Went over after dinner for cake and presents. She got quite a number of fabulous things - her folks gave her a "design your own converse sneakers," her younger sister gave her a light-up ant farm. My folks got her three origami kits. Her little brother gave her a replacement for the toy he broke (and at 2.5yo, he really doesn't understand what is going on, but was still enamored of the toy in its packaging.). She got a renewal of the magazine series from me, plus a solar powered snap together kit that makes six different things, that are powered with a teeny little solar cell rather than batteries.

Well, back to work tomorrow. I didn't get through half the things to do on my list, but it has been a really good break, I think.

Currently, my first rehearsal is on Thursday night (did I mention I was cast in Annie? Yeah, one long three-month earworm). It is a music rehearsal, so singing! In public! For the first time in years! Thankfully I am in the ensemble, so nothing is riding on me singing by myself (which I am sure you are all thankful for).
So earlier this week I saw my nieces and nephew at my parent's house. It was like a playdate. My brother took the day off to work on the addition, and my sister-in-law took a few hours as well. My parents got the kids until noon, when K picked up the eldest (swimming practice) and the youngest (nap time), and left the middle child, my niece B, to have lunch and continue playing with me and my mom.

She has got to be the most exhausting child I've come across. Not only does she talk without ceasing, she has an enormous "I want" streak. Every other sentence seems to be "Can I have?" and she does not take no for an answer. She will just continue asking until she wears you down. Although, I am a mean mean auntie and for me no means no.

Anyway, she wanted to set up a "fort" in the living room, which consists of a folding card table, two animal pillows, two fleece blankets that get thrown over the card table that make sides, and a box of oversize cardboard blocks (storage box included). The card table is kept folded up in the dining room out of the way, and I pulled it from the hiding place, and B wanted to carry it over to the softer rug in the living room. She didn't want help. She is not-quite-seven years old, so big enough, but the table is still twice her size.

I told her "be careful not to hit any of the furniture and, don't knock over the Christmas Tree. Watch where you're going, and don't step on any of the tiny invisible people." O.o

Honest, guys, I have NO IDEA where that came from. Tiny Invisible People? Really brain? What the hell? But I went with it when she looked at me with the "are you crazy" look. I just wanted her to watch where she was going and be careful. All of a sudden I am spinning a load of blarney about the society of mice-fighting people who live in the house, and hide things like keys and toys. I had her pretty well convinced there were legions of tiny invisible people everywhere. And when she was doubtful about it, I got my mom to back me up with absolutely no prompting. B went right up to her and asked point blank if there were such a thing. "Of course we have tiny invisible people! You must be careful not to step on them!"

Reason number eighty-six billion three hundred and sixty two why I love my mom.
Spent the afternoon running around with my nieces yesterday. Boy, did they tire my mom and I OUT. B got whiny (she's the younger), and G got annoyed towards the end. G is a total outdoor girl! She wants to be outside, preferably with no coat or shoes. As beautiful as yesterday was it was still chilly!

B wanted to play "sardines" which is a version of hide 'n' seek. But when outside at my folks house, there are only two ways to "split up" to search. One goes around the house one way, and two go around the house the other. And there are relatively few places to hide, especially with the leaves falling off the trees. But, play we did. And we played tickle tag (just so we could chase B around while she giggled, really). And regular hide 'n' seek (which is really more challenging), and museum statues, and throw the ball to the dog, and running just for fun.

I went to bed last night at 11pm I was so tired.

M brought the all three kids to lunch at my folks to give K (his wife) some time to work on the crafts she is creating for a craft show in early December. After lunch and some play time, M took L home for a nap (and also to continue working on the addition - very close to move in ready - at least the bedrooms. Bathrooms are getting there...) and left the girls with me and my mom (although very shortly that gambit won't work as for the first time L realized B and G were not in the car going home - next time I bet he gets fussier). My dad parked himself in front of the TV to watch the Patriot's game, so we let him be. When we decided to go outside, we took the dog, who part way through being outside decided he'd had enough and nosed his way back into the house.

When M got back the Patriot's game was about to go into overtime and the girls were fussy. We sat about and watched (mileage on "watched" may vary) the end of the game (G and I read the comics in the Sunday paper, B got just as close to us as she could and made me rub her back. That there were three of us perched rather precariously on two high stools didn't seem to phase either one of them - but I got rungs and ridges in odd places trying to make sure none of us fell off.).

B is at the age when "washing her hands" is holding them under the water for a second or two then swiping the towel is "washing." And after one of the indoor games she had dirt and dust all over her hands, I had to scrub them so she didn't transfer all that dirt to her clothes - it was the particularly sticky icky dirty dust that coats things not cleaned in years - and she'd found a pocket of it in the underside of the baby grand piano - a little ledge that nobody's ever dusted, because by the time my parents got the piano, there was no one small enough to want to crawl under it to see there is a ledge someone can hide something on, and so it has never been dusted. Very icky - and it took some scrubbing to get it all off her hands and arms.

All in all it was an exhausting Sunday. Good, but man, I wish I could bottle that energy. The sisterly spats I could do without.
etakyma: (badASS Comedian)
( Jun. 23rd, 2010 07:44 pm)
Saw my brother's family on Sunday when we had lunch with my mom and dad for Father's Day. M and K (my brother and sister-in-law) took L home for a nap (he turns two in a week or so), they left the girls with us.

Whew! Exhausting! B will NEVER stop talking, and G is quite the maniacal mastermind of crazy ideas.

But when K came back to pick them up later that afternoon, she mentioned that they are doing daily journal entries for the whole summer. They're going to do a "family journal" that will detail all the playgrounds they can find on the Cape (where K's parents have a house, and K takes the kids to a lot). But the way she talked about the journal made me laugh... she said 70 days to go. The summer is 72 days long, I guess, before school starts again, and K's numbered the days in a countdown to School (third grade and first graders! yikes!).

She's go her hands so so full with all three active kids all summer long. So they go back to school in 66 days.

Other news - I'm at the tail end of printing the STUFF needed for Infinitus. I've got a few more things to do - Ball drink tickets, extra Feast tickets, etc. This weekend is THE BIG WEEKEND to put 2250 registration packets together. yikes!
etakyma: (Anton and Steffan MofRD)
( May. 29th, 2010 11:11 pm)
I spent the day at may parent's house cutting, piecing, and sewing a smallish quilt. Two weeks ago, my sister in law called me to ask some advice about whether there was time for her younger daughter's kindergarten class to make a quilt as an art project (as well as the class gift to the teacher).

Long story shortened considerably, they did the art. I am doing the quilting. And it has to be done before June 12 - as I am busy all day June 13, and I leave for California on June 14.

So the quilt is called "Kindness is" and the art the kids did is all about what kindness means to them. The art was done with special fabric dye sticks (used like a crayon), which is then heat-set with a dry iron. Apparently, kindness involves a lot of reading, helping, and cleaning to these five and six year olds. And some of them write really well.

My niece's block was mostly all words. Even in a soundless medium she has a *lot* to say (she's the chatterbox - she never stops talking. For two such incredibly quiet people, they are raising a very loud kid).

I spent the day putting the top together and making the bias-tape for the binding. Tomorrow I get to do finishing work - like binding it, and finish quilting it. I am ti-red.

Think I am going to call it a night and go beddie-bye.
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