Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I get flooded with magazines at the office.  In a given month I get probably 20 magazines, all of which are related to my industry, but only a few of them are close to what I actually do. 

At first, I thought they'd eventually stop sending them to me, so I just recycled them...but they don't.  One particular magazine has had a warning on the front cover telling me "this is the last one I will receive unless I renew now", and it's been there for six months!
I don't get FitPregnancy, but it's the only picture I could find like this.
I get about a call or two a week from their "renewal specialists" informing me all I need to do to renew is to verify some piece of data, so if I just tell them ________ (insert private and possibly confidential information), they'll keep the magazine's coming.  When I'd tell them to cancel my subscription it never got done.
This guy got promoted from door-to-door sales to an office job!
Strangely, I never gave them any information to begin with, so I'm not sure what they are verifying!  They just started sending me magazines and asking for it.

I used to get two or three emails a week asking me to confirm, or giving me their online version of the magazine.  Early on, I started using their unsubscribe feature, which resulted in me getting five to ten emails a week.  I can't remember who I've unsubscribed and which ones are new.

Recently, I've started doing something different.  Here is the transcript of a recent phone call, with their words in red, mine in blue, and funny side notes from me in black:

Hello Mr. Janakis, this is Blah, calling for Blah Blah magazine.  Your free subscription is just about to expire.  In order to continue receiving Blah Blah magazine, we just need you to verify the month you were born.


It might be childish, but at the same time it's rewarding to hear the long pause, followed by them asking the question again. 

Mr. Jankin, could I have the month you were born?

Oh, sorry, I thought you asked something else.  Broccoli.

Another long pause, followed by

Mr. Jankis, that is not an option.

Oh, sorry, I guess I don't understand the question.  What are my options?

Another long pause.  I can't tell if the guy is frustrated or doesn't get it, but he persists.

We need to verify the month you were born so your magazine service is not interrupted.

Hmmm.  That's a tough one, and I'm not too good with history.  Let me see if I can find the answer to your question and I'll call you back.  Sound like a plan?

Mr. Junkees, all we need to continue your magazine subscription is to verify your month of birth.

I know.  Don't you see what's going on here?  I'm not going to give it to you.  According to the statement you've made at least three times, if I don't give it to you, you can't verify it, and you'll stop sending me a magazine I don't read.  Correct?

Yeah, I guess. 

I know you don't work for the magazine, and are just trying to do a job for a company they've hired, but I've tried to get this magazine stopped at least half a dozen times, so I'm a bit frustrated with the whole process.  Can you stop the subscription or tell me what hoops I have to jump through to do it?

Certainly.  I'll take your name off the list.  Based on the magazine subscriptions you currently have there are several other magazines you may be interested in receiving.  Would you like to hear about them?



No.  Can't you just tell me to have a nice day and hang up?


Well that's rude.  I hope you have a nice day and better luck with your next call.

No, er, I mean, uh, have a nice day.  I can't hang up on you.


Yeah, we're not allowed.

What do you think is worse, hanging up on me or telling me your company forbids you from hanging up on me?

I don't know.

Well, let's see if we can get a rule changed.

What?  Hello?  Hello?  Hello?

I was prepared to fight this corporate bureaucracy (that's a lot of vowels for one word) for as long as it took to change a rule.  Exactly five minutes is all I had to fight.

So now I don't know if he lied about not being able to hang up on me, is a rebel and did it anyway, found a clause in the employee handbook which allowed him to hang up, or if his boss made one of those tough decisions only good leaders can make.

Guess I'll find out next month when he calls back.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hello there, DCFS

Children say the strangest things.  Sometimes they just conjugate poorly and sometimes they simply just use the wrong words. 
I think this says it all.
Mama took Hadley to the pediatrician a few weeks ago as she was struggling through a nasty cough and fever.  The night before, she had been coughing so hard I had to take her to the guest bedroom, prop her up on some pillows so she could breathe easier, and lie there with her so she wouldn't wake up in a strange room and be totally freaked out.

SIDEBAR:  If you've ever slept next to a toddler, you know you don't actually sleep.  When I wasn't wide awake from the fear of rolling over on her, I was being assaulted by her amazingly strong and accurate "jimmy leg" kicking.

At one point, I had her propped up length wise on the bed, with the wall serving as her support on one side to keep her from falling out of bed while I was on the other side.  Somehow, she managed to turn herself so her head was facing the support wall and the rest of her body was lying width wise across the bed.  She's 40 inches tall, so on a standard full size bed this left little room for me.  I was now trying to avoid her dangerous feet while dangling over the side of the bed.

Back to the main story.  While sitting in the pediatrician's waiting room, she not so quietly mentioned to her Mama
"I slept in bed with Papa last night and he didn't have any clothes on." 
Fortunately, there was nobody else in the room.  Can you imagine the reaction you might have had if you'd heard a three year old make that statement?  If someone had heard that, I can only imagine how long it would've taken before there was a knock on my front door from someone with a clipboard, standing next to a large police officer.

This is what comes to mind when I think about what she said.
This might be too much information, but for the record, I do not sleep in the nude.  I don't wear a shirt, but I hardly think that constitutes not having any clothes on.  Guess we'll have to spend a little more time on definitions going forward.

Friday, February 22, 2013

More words and phrases from toddlers

I love hearing the new words and phrases my girls come up with.  Since I love it, I know all of you will too!  Therefore, I've decided to share them with you.  Enjoy!

I'm sick. 

     I'm SO sick! 

     I want to go straight to bed.

     I want to sleep in Papa's bed!

     This bed is too hard, I want to sleep in my bed!

     I need to spit the water out.  (aka vomit)
Shall we buy some pretzels?
What do you need when you're thirsty?  Keep reading to find what Brynne thought.
     Papa, do you need more brandy?

Where did the workers go?

     There they are.  Papa, I see the workers!

Where did your beard go?

     Did you throw it in the trash?

     Did you shave it off?

     I love your beard.

It's Sunday, let's go to church!

Papa, the computer doesn't work.  I'll get the tape and hammer.

I want to take a nice, hot, wubbly, bubbly bath.

Oh, that's nice.

     That will be so nice.

     That sounds like fun.

I'm a healthy growing girl!

Don't eat the snow, you will be chilly.

You're silly Papa.

Did I get any Tigger mail today?

You have to put on your shoes before you go outside.

Brrrrrr!  SNOW!!!

I could go on and on, but I think this is probably enough for now.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fury and Fun, Part 2

If you didn't read the first part of this, you'll need to go back and do that.  Now, the rest of the story.

Part of my frustration that evening had come from little things I noticed.  A basket of laundry needing to be folded and put away.  A load of wash needing to go to the dryer.  Another load waiting to be cleaned.  Yet another load in the dryer, waiting to be removed.  The dish washing machine's red light on, which meant dishes were clean and needed to be put away.  Dishes stacked on the counter, waiting to be loaded into the washer.  Toys scattered everywhere in the toy room.  Trash can overflowing.
This is not our house, but gives you an idea of what I was seeing.
Don't get me wrong here, I'm not throwing Mama under the bus for slacking on housework.  This just happens when you have five members of a family and only one of them can keep the peace at home during the week.  She had her hands full, and I could tell with just one look she'd done everything she could not to explode that day.

I really wanted to spend some time with Ruby and Mama that night, just hanging out and relaxing.  That couldn't happen if one of us spent the entire evening doing chores.  And then it hit me.

Let's make a game out of this!

I knelt down next to the girls and asked if they were ready for a BIG adventure, to which they instantly replied YES!

So we did.
"Our first big adventure, is to crawl under the chairs in the dining room.  GO!"

We raced to the dining room and all of us crawled through the chairs and under the table.  They made it through easier than I did, but I still made it through.

"Our next big adventure is to tickle Mama's feet.  GO!"

The girls raced to the plant room (we call it a plant room instead of the TV room due to the ginormous plant Mama has there.  Plantzilla has been known to eat small animals, which is why we never leave Ruby alone near it) and informed Mama we were there to tickle her feet.

As I started thinking of another adventure, I realized the girls didn't care what it was, they were just happy to be doing something different.  So I took a chance. 

"Our next big adventure is to empty the dishwasher.  GO!"

We dashed to the kitchen and unloaded the dishwasher.  As we were wrapping up, Hadley started reloading it, so we crossed those two items off my list.
Dishes are done, dude!
The rest of the adventures, if memory serves, occurred in this order:

Going behind the couch and jumping up, yelling boo!
Putting the clothes from the dryer into the laundry basket, the washer into the dryer, then reloading the washer.
Covering ourselves with pillows from the couch.
Picking up the toy room.
Going to stand in the downstairs shower.
Tickling Mama's feet.
Taking the clean clothes upstairs and putting them away, room by room.
Getting under the covers on Mama and Papa's bed.
Getting ready for bed.
Hiding in a closet.
Getting in the upstairs shower.
Going back downstairs to give Mama a hug and a kiss, as well as to tickle her feet.
Crawling through the dining room chairs.
Going to bed.

By the time we got to bed it was after their bedtime, but that was fine.  We read their bible, prayed, and they fell instantly to sleep.  I got to spend the night relaxing with Mama and Ruby, and even got my brandy.

Since then, we've done the BIG adventures a few times, but not too often to make it lose the appeal.  The girls have started coming up with their own ideas.  Brynne's eyes get wide as can be, while she tells me
"The nexxxxxt biiiiiiiiig abenture tickle Mama's feet!"
She's usually off and running before completing the sentence.  The other night, she even came up with her own original go outside and look at the moon and stars.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fury and Fun, Part 1

Mama had battled the girls all day since they didn't sleep well the night before and failed to take a nap.

After a long, sleepless night, I had battled through a long, sleepless day at work and a commute that took twice as long as it should have.

When I walked in the door, all I wanted was to change clothes, grab a glass of brandy, and relax for a few minutes.  By the time I got halfway to the door, I realized that was not going to happen.  I could hear the cries of the little ones and knew it had probably been going on all day.  I did my best to put on a happy face, but it quickly faded.
When screaming blows out a window, you know you're in for a rough night.
The girls could only fuss, whine, and cry from the moment I walked in the door at 5:05.  They wanted me to pick them up.  There was nothing I could do to appease them.  Dinner was more frustrating than I can ever remember it being in the past as they continued their exhausted antics.  I'd made their favorite foods and they were rejecting them. 

Almost nothing was eaten.  We had several discipline issues.  An entire cup of milk was "accidentally" spilled on me and the floor.  They finally left the table, only to start fighting with each other as I tried to do some clean up.  Screaming, pulling (and tearing) clothes, and more tears were all I saw and heard as I walked into the room.  Fortunately, I was just in time to prevent one of them from biting the other.  This hadn't been an issue for quite some time, but here it was.

I snapped.  I raised my voice louder than I needed to, but I wanted to stun them as I made my way over to the open mouthed one.  I grabbed them and pulled them apart.  They both got disciplined for their part in the battle.  The spilt milk was still on the floor, so they were given the ultimatum:  sit here quietly and read, or suffer the consequences.

It was only 6:30.  I didn't know how I was going to make it until 7:30 without losing my cool.  As I was on my hands and knees, trying to get all the milk off the floor and sop it up from the gaps between the wood planks of the floor, Hadley patted me on the back.  She and Brynne were standing there, with big smiles. 

They were disobeying again, and seemed so pleased to be doing it.  Walking into the kitchen, and right through the milk, was not what I told them to do.  I began to stand up and begin the discipline process, when Hadley spoke up
"Papa, can we help you clean the milk?"
My heart melted.  Until this point, I hadn't seen the wad of Kleenex in each of their hands.  I'll never know which one of them came up with the idea, but I don't care.  The anger/fury/whatever you want to call it which had been building inside of me since the moment I walked through the door was gone instantly.  We finished cleaning the milk and I decided we needed to make the best of the remaining 45 minutes we had together tonight.

The usual actions of reading books, doing puzzles, or playing with toys weren't appealing to me, so what did we do?
Come back next time to hear all about it.  It might just be the best thing ever.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Did you really fall for that?

It's Friday afternoon and I'm getting ready to head home after a long week of work.  As I approach the elevator, a co-worker of mine is standing there waiting to leave as well.  We have little in common, so we engage in the typical small talk one normally finds in these instances as we get on the elevator.  He's red, I'm blue.

How are the kids?

Fine, yours?

Fine.  Got any plans for the weekend?

Not really, you?

Nothing major.  As he walks away he says enjoy your weekend.

The smart ass in me wakes up at this exact time and takes the conversation over.

You taking a long weekend?

No.  I'll be back Monday.

I'll probably see you tomorrow then, but still have a good weekend when it gets here.

He stops and turns slowly.  I can hear his mind working, but barely.

Where will I see you tomorrow?

If you're working too, I assume I'll see you here.

Tomorrow's Saturday, I'm not working.

I give him a puzzled look.  It has been a long week, but today is only Thursday.

Again, his mind starts working, but only a little.  All day I've been thinking today was Friday.  Are you serious?  What is wrong with me?

It happens.  I've been off a day this whole week too.  Must be the weather.

I guess.  Well, have a good night.  I'll see you tomorrow.

Okay, you too.

I let it go at that.  I'm not sure how long my trickery lasted, but as he was walking away I saw him pull out his phone.  I hope he checked the calendar and didn't come into work on Saturday. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Car troubles

It's a beautiful, crisp Saturday morning.  I let Mama know I'm headed into town to run some errands by myself.  I love saying "I'm heading into town", it makes me feel so country.  The car starts fine and as I head out, the radio is playing a song I like, but I have the volume low as I'm just enjoying the morning.

As I turn from one country road onto the next I must have hit a pothole, as I now hear an unfamiliar  sound. 

click, click, click
This is in my future, I'm sure of it.
When I change speeds, the sound neither picks up the pace or slows down. 

click, click, click

I listen intently, trying to find the source of the sound, but it sounds as though it's coming from everywhere.

click, click, click

Since I'm starting to become concerned, I pull to the side of the road and listen.  Switching the car to neutral and then to park doesn't change the sound.  Reverse does nothing either.

click, click, click

I put the car back into drive and decide to head to my mechanic, just in case. 

click, click, click

Perhaps I could hear better if I roll down the window.

click, click, click
It may not be "the most annoying sound in the world", but it was close.
No difference.  The radio was already playing softly in the background, but I decide to turn it off, in case that helps me hear better.


The click is gone.  While I do enjoy the silence for a second, I turn the radio back on, thinking maybe there's a short in the radio or something.

click, click, click

There it is again.  It takes me a few seconds to realize what an idiot I am. 

Do you know why I'm an idiot?  Please don't post comments about why I'm an idiot in general, just why I am in this instance.  I think blogger would shut down if everyone posted comments about my idiocy.  The right answer is:

click, click, click was part of the drum beat in the song on the radio.

At least I got to start the day with a good laugh, even if it was laughing at myself.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The high shelves

As I wrote a post the other day, I began thinking about the high shelves.  You know, the place you put things that, while you only use them once or twice a decade, you just can't throw them away.  The second you do toss something out, you realize you need it and have to either borrow it from someone else (which requires them to get the ladder out, drag it down, dust it off, and get it to you after checking to make sure it still works) or go buy another one.
I thought I'd share with you some of the exciting things I found on our own high shelves.  Keep in mind that we just moved and had every opportunity to toss this stuff out, but we didn't.  Since they've been neglected for so long, I thought I'd make them part of the family by naming them.  In no particular order, here they are: 
1 - The margarita maker
Neither Mama nor Papa drink tequila.  Yet here she is, Maria the Margarita Maker.  The funniest thing about this item is we still have everything needed to make margaritas, but it's been at least six years since we used it last.  We even have a container of margarita salt, and since salt is a natural preservative, it won't ever expire.  That being said, when I took the lid off the salt, I found it had coagulated into one solid chunk of salt.  While it may still be salty, it is not in a form in which it can be used without much work, so it has been retired.
Yes, I intentionally went with an Hispanic name for her.
2 - Meat grinder/finger masher

While it looks innocent enough, it can destroy anything which enters the tube of death.  I think I used this last about two years ago when making ham salad.  We've never made our own sausage, and I don't foresee that being something we'll do in the near term, but nonetheless, here it stands, in all its glory. 

We actually have two of these beauties.  One we received from my grandma, and the other one, pictured below, which mysteriously showed up on our doorstep one morning.  It needed a good home, and I had a sudden craving for ham salad, so Gary the Grinder has been with us ever since.
Meat Gary.  You see what I did there?  I used "meat" instead of "meet".  Classic.
3 - Non functional bowls

You know those bowls you can't put in the oven, the microwave, or the dishwasher?  Of course you do.  They're the same ones that instantly feel as hot or as cold as the item you put in them.  The very same ones that might break even if they're only being used to hold bread.  We have several of them.  I think we last used them as decorations four years ago, but they've been replaced for whatever reason.  Probably because they were hideous before, and we only put them out when the person who gave them to us came over to make them happy, but soon realized they probably just re gifted them and were laughing at our horrible sense of style.  We'll call them Bubba, Bubba 2, Bubba 3, etc.  I don't know any Bubbas, but I imagine if I did they'd be useless too. 
Just in case you gave us a bowl as an honest gift, I didn't want to hurt your feelings, so none are shown.
4 - "As seen on TV" stuff

I'm sure you're using your slap chop every day.  Or the bacon wave.  Possibly even an automatic jar opener/slicer/dicer/storage thing.  Maybe you got suckered into buying lids for soda cans.  I don't know what you might of bought, but odds are, it's on the high shelf if you've been too ashamed to admit you wasted money on it and chuck it. 

We don't have any of this stuff.  If we did at one point I don't remember.  Maybe I'm suffering from a very specific form of amnesia, but I can't recall ever buying anything I've had to call to order...except the Total Gym, which I have owned since 2000 and actually used recently.  I've named it Charles.
I'd say something about the outfit, but I value my life.

5 - Fondue Pot

I did used to love fondue.  So much, in fact, that as a child, this was my request for a birthday meal every year.  I know you can do pseudo healthy things now, but the thought of taking a very sharp item, stabbing pieces of meat with it, then putting that in a vat of bubbling oil while trying not to spill any out, then taking said skewer out and realizing the meat fell off so I now have to root around the bottom of the pot with the skewer for some remnants of meat which are most likely now the density of a rock, all while the scalding hot cauldron of pain sits inches from two curious toddlers as the cord on it is not long enough to place it anywhere else on the table, is surprisingly no longer appealing to me. 

My cholesterol is actually going up just thinking about it.  Fon-don't seems like a stupid name, so I'll go with Jed.
This guy knew how to do bubblin oil.
6 - Iced tea maker

I actually did used to use this quite a bit.  Until one day when I came inside expecting to have a nice pitcher of tea waiting for me and instead I found a very large puddle of brown water soaking into everything.  You see that little notch on the bottom in the middle?  The broken one?  That's where the front of the pitcher is supposed to sit.  You see where a knob should be in the middle on the top?  That's where you would adjust the rate at which tea flows out.

Ted the Teamaker has been mostly retired since a gruesome accident left him partially disabled and, therefore, unable to perform the main duties of his primary occupation.  If he ever gets his lazy butt off the high shelf, I have to stand there holding the pitcher in place while trying not to burn my hand as tea the temperature of lave comes flying out. 
I know I should put him out of his misery, but I just can't bring myself to do it.
7 - Good China

We, again, don't actually have any of this.  Long ago we decided we'd rather not take up valuable high shelf real estate with something we might actually use once or twice a year.  We then decided the lowest and middle shelves were already full of things we used regularly.  That didn't leave anywhere to put it, so we opted out. 

Perhaps someday we'll decide to spend a lot of money on something fancy we'll break a piece of every time we use it and then have to replace it only to find they've stopped making that pattern and now our set is incomplete so we have to use it for random things and spend even more money on new dishes, but today is not that day.
When I Googled "Good China" this came up.  That's the only reason it's here.

There you go, pretty much our complete list.  What's on your high shelves?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Happy ending at the new house

You may be disappointed with this post after reading the title, but oh well.  I needed an attention getter and thought that might work.  Even if you were looking for some other kind of story, feel free to read on.

Probably none of you (except possibly Mandy) reading this will recall the post I did about our old house making parts of toys disappear.  You can go here to read it, if you want.  Actually, you should probably read it first if you don't remember it as the rest of this might not make as much sense.

I wanted to give you two updates on the post. 

Update 1: 

When we were moving, we found the missing pig magnet piece under some puzzles.  I think the house was trying to bribe us into staying around a little longer by giving us this back.

It didn't work, obviously.

Update 2:

Brynne and I were playing in the living room a few weeks ago when she suddenly exclaimed
My first thought was to grab her and run from the house screaming.
I never saw the movie, but the trailer still spooks me.
 My second thought was "Crap, now we have to head for Mordor".
My precious!
Before I could get to my third thought, she was jumping up and down, yelling
"I found the purple ring!  Look Papa, I found it!  Hooray Brynne!"
At this point Hadley joined in the celebrations, congratulating her sister for her huge find.  We immediately took it to join its friends on the stand where it belonged.  There was a big party, lots of wooden pieces crying and hugging each glad to all be back together again.  It was really a touching moment.

The ring could only provide minor insight into where it had been and the wonderful adventures it partook in.  I speak a little German, a little more Spanish, and no Wooden Ring, so the broken bits I was able to translate using the "Wooden Ring to English" app on my phone led me to this conclusion:  as far as I could tell, it had been tucked into the cushions of a baby swing (by two or four tiny hands) we had packed the swing away over two years ago. 

Either that, or the house magically teleported the ring back from the depths of the old house's Bermuda Triangle as a house warming (or self warming if you're thinking from the house's perspective) present for us.  As I said, my language skills combined with the ring's lack of skill at Charades makes this part a bit fuzzy.

At least one thing is for certain:  the new house doesn't have any biases against toys where the number of parts is evenly divisible by 13.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Let's talk

Until recently, any actual conversations I've had with the girls have been mostly one sided.  I could ask them a question, and they might answer it, but that's usually as far as it got.

Last night, Brynne and I had our longest conversation to date.  Brynne's words are in orange (her favorite color) while mine remain in black.

The setup:  Last night we were going to give Ruby her first official bath in a tub.  Unfortunately, late in the afternoon I discovered her bathtub had a hole in it.  I left it sitting at the top of the stairs when I went to get the girls up from nap.  A few hours later, the girls were eating dinner.  Mama found a tub we could borrow from a friend of ours, so she was getting ready to go get it.
They always think we're going either to Walgreen's or church when we leave the house.
And here we go:

Is Mama going to Walgreen's to get me some medicine (pronounced me-ci-cine)?

No, she's going to get a bathtub from Mrs. Anna?

But we already have a tub.

Yes, we do, but we need to get one for Ruby.

Ruby has one.  It's upstairs, lovie.

You're right, but that one has a hole in it.

Ok.  We need to put some tape on it to fix it.

That's a great idea, but tape won't hold the water in.

Oh, ok.  Papa has to fix Ruby Edith's tub. 

The hole is too big to be fixed.

Papa can fix it. Papa can fix anything.

Some things can't be fixed, but thanks for the vote of confidence.

You're welcome.  Papa, may I please have some more milk?  Yes you may.
I realize due to my incredible computer skills you can hardly tell I doctored the picture above.  If you  look closely you may be able to see it.  In order to keep this post clean, I had to do a little censoring of Bob the Builder. Sometimes, language can get a little rough on the job site, and Bob forgets he's supposed to be child friendly.   If you've ever seen the outtakes from one of his shows you'd understand what I mean.   

Monday, February 4, 2013

Check Yo Self

It's not easy for a guy like me to empathize with the daily life and routine of Ice Cube, but we still have some similarities. 
We go way back.

Unlike Mr. Cube,  (I call him Ice) I don't drop bombs on ya moms, have intercourse with car alarms, do foul crime, have the indo, sit in a house of pain, headbutt ya, or have people call me Doughboy.  So what do we have in common?  We both have to check ourselves.

I've mentioned before how these little ones of ours listen to everything we say, even if they don't do what we mean.  Now, it would seem they are comprehending everything we say, and deliberately not doing what we say.

You might be asking yourself
How can you know what a three year old comprehend and what they don't?
Simple.  When (notice I did say "when", and not "if") I do something I've told them not to do, they call me on it.

Just a few examples from the last week.

Proper usage of a chair:

The girls have been told countless times when they sit on a chair they are to sit on their bottoms at all times.  The ceilings in our house are 11.5 feet high.  In the kitchen, the cabinets go almost all the way to the top.  As tall as I am, I still cannot reach the top shelves.

As I look for a vase to put some flowers in, I realize the perfect one is on the top shelf (more to come on this at a later date).  The girls are eating, so I pull my chair over, step up on it, step to the counter, and reach for the vase.  Yes, even I have to stand on the counter to reach things.  As I start my descent, Brynne asks me a question:
"Papa, are we supposed to stand on chairs?"
I reply
"You are not allowed to stand on a chair, but Papa can" 
She then asks me
I won't get into the rest of the conversation that took place.  I never made it to the point of using the age-old parenting response

"Because I said so"
but I was close.


Inside our house, as we've done for a long time, we don't wear shoes.  Mama says it has something to do with germs and dirt, or something like that, so we don't.  The girls are very good about taking their shoes off as soon as they come in.  Occasionally, they'll wander off the rug and have to be called back.  This typically sounds like
As I said in my last post, the house is almost 150 years old.  Back then, they didn't dig out the basement, pour a concrete foundation, put up drywall and lights, and make it into a den or playroom.  They simply dug out enough room to create a cellar and allow for air circulation.  Our basement floor is dirt.  The walls are bare brick, and although there are three distinct rooms, in only a small part of it can anyone actually stand up.

It does contain everything you'd typically find in a newer home:  electrical panel, copper pipes that run from nowhere to nowhere, boiler, mostly disintegrated bath mat of unknown age or origin, hot water heater, pump for the well (which hasn't been used for thirty years), water sanitizer (which hasn't been hooked up for thirty years, but amazingly still had some of the nastiest water in it you'd ever seen - ironic since it's sole function is to clean the water), water softener (common theme - not hooked up for a long time, but full of salt, which has fused together to form one huge salt block), bins for storing coal, and a toilet brush from 1950.  All pretty common if you ask me. 

Hmmm, where was I going?  Oh, right. 
If these are the stairs you were imagining, you are slightly off.  The house isn't that old.

You can access the basement by stairs on the inside of the house or by going through the cellar door from the outside.  On a particularly frigid day, I had been working outside and intended to do some work in the basement.  As I opened the external cellar door and headed down the steps, I realized I hadn't unlocked the door to the basement from inside, and wouldn't be able to actually get into the basement. 

I went around to the front door and headed in.  I actually contemplated taking off my shoes before crossing the 15 feet to get to the inside basement door.  Because I had on several layers of clothes, I thought it would just be easier to leave my shoes on as opposed to taking off the layers, then the shoes, then putting them all back on before I went downstairs.

Since Mama was not in sight, I decided to make the walk through the house wearing shoes.  They were clean enough, and really, it was only eight steps.

About the time I took my sixth step I heard a little voice from behind me saying
When I looked back, I found Hadley there with a huge grin on her face.  I said "OOPS!" and finished my walk of shame to the basement. 

Oops is now one of her favorite words.

When I was growing up I never really understood the concept that parents were allowed to do things children weren't.  Because I "insert the appropriate phrase here" (said so/am the grown up/am bigger than you/pay the bills) never stopped me from trying to do everything grown ups did. 

I am realizing my girls may have picked that up from me.

Friday, February 1, 2013


Aside from two recent(ish) reposts from a year ago, I haven't been doing too much writing, as you may have noticed.  Now that a few items have been crossed off my list, I hope to get back into it. 

What are those things I crossed off my list?  Glad you asked.

Minor item 1:  New house

We had a house under contract for six months, just waiting to sell our old one as we didn't want to have two mortgages at once.  As we found out later, someone else was going to make an offer on our new house, which we couldn't have matched, but they were a day late in getting it put together. 

Even though it's 150 years old, it's new to us!
Minor item 2:  The move

We were supposed to have 24 hours to move everything we owned from one house to the other.  Even though they are only 10 minutes apart at most, it still would've required a small miracle.  We ended up getting three days to move, though it was basically done in two.

Minor item 3:  The post move

Now that we're in, the original list of things we need to do has grown.  The structure of the house is solid, and we're trying as much as possible to keep the integrity of the house by not making sweeping renovations/updates, but there are so many items the previous owners just didn't keep up with.  Every day I find more things to put on my list.  At least I like lists!  The only thing we need to upgrade that we can't live without in the Midwest is air conditioning, so that will be added this spring.

See those houses way off in the background?  Those are some of our closest neighbors.
In case you're new to reading me, forgot about my history with a neighbor, or just wanted to reread it, please check out the posts here, here, and here to see why the caption above makes me so happy.

My to do list for outside work just got a little bigger as well.
Minor item 4:  Ruby

Less than two weeks after moving homes, Mama was hard at work moving Ruby from the womb to the real world.  Papa is proud to present his third little lady, Ruby Edith, being held by her very excited sisters.

One born on 1/3, two born on 2/3.  Should be easy to remember.
Even though she was the biggest baby we've had (yet), people think she looks so little when I hold her.  I have to remind them I am 25 times her size.  The girls are only three to four times her size. 

It is funny, though, that due to the long hours for everything, the stress of everything, and the lack of time available to eat, my weight has gone by the equivalent of two of her since she was born.

Hurray stress!