It's Like Spring Cleaning, Only Grosser

Here's a nasty little equation for your perusal:

(1 winter) x (1+ acres) x (4 dogs) = a LOT of sh!t

Ugh.  I spent my afternoon on the world's most disgusting Easter egg hunt.  I collected an entire wheel barrow-full of dog turds(!).  Literally.  Big turds.  Little turds.  SO. MANY. TURDS.

The weather has turned nice and the kids want to play in the yard, so it had to be done.  Besides, if we didn't get it taken care of before next weekend when T's parents arrive, they wouldn't be able to rest until every pile was disposed of.

So I spent two hours on a glorious west Texas winter morning on a deuce hunt.  I had a couple of turd-spotting helpers - not that they were much help.  Mostly I had to keep telling them not to step in the poop. 

Before the in-laws owned the property on the other side of the horse pasture, we just kind of flung the poop over the fence.  (No horses are ever kept in that pasture.)  But since the owner of the pasture was nice enough to let us put gates on either side so we can cross it, it just didn't seem like the neighborly thing to do anymore.

So now we have a super fancy fecal matter disposal unit in the far rear corner of our lot.  Which is to say, the working parts of an outhouse (aka: a sh!t pit).  We dropped in the droppings and covered them up with piles of  ashes from the fire place.  Hopefully, the ashes will keep the stink down and help everything break down and go away.

I love living in the country.  Classy?  I haz it.


...And Then a Miracle Happened

My banister!  It doesn't wobble!  

My contractor!  Finally showed up!  

I am so excited!  That I must abuse exclamation points!


Too bad the slide show isn't.

And now the new upstairs is so stuffed with, well, stuff that 
I don't want to put up pictures.  

But I will.  


I mean it.


Rats, Foiled Again!

To overcome my powerful procrastination skills, a friend of mine suggested that I put painting the bathroom on the calendar and get myself psyched up for it.  So I did, and it worked.  I got up today all ready to paint that bathroom.  I got in there and started masking  Oh, how I hate masking!  But I am a spaz and unreliable about touching up the ceiling, so: masking.  Sigh.  I figured I would actually do a thorough job of it and paint the tape line with primer to insure pristine paint lines.

But I got ahead of myself.  The paint I planned to use for the bathroom was left over from the house in Small Town, but I wanted to tone it down a little.  The colors were a little intense, so I planned to tone them down with a little white paint.  Halfway through my masking job, I got sucked into paint mixing.  The colors?  So not going to work.  Still WAY too intense.  Very juvenile. The colors were okay in the old house where the bathroom was solely a kids' bathroom, but in this house, it is the main first floor bathroom and I was hoping for something a little more sophisticated.  Well, as sophisticated as you can be with a monkey shower curtain!

Guess I'll have to take another stab at the colors.  I have a cup holder that has the sand-and-sky colors I am looking for in it.  I guess I'll just have to cough up the cost of paint.  Rats!  I was hoping this would be a free project!  Oh, well.  Paint is cheap.


Sooooo Much (Left) to Do

I have been working on my list, but, darn it!, it just keeps getting longer!  Here's the progress report with new items added in bold.

Front Porch:
  • Install new front porch lights that I got for Christmas
  • Paint front door red
  • Paint porch swing (and possibly wooden rockers from my parents' house) black.
  • Plant Caladiums in the beds under the big trees

  • Browbeat David-the-Contractor into finishing the stair railing (it still wobbles).  Updated: I have been calling him about every other day.  He swears that he isn't avoiding me/my calls, but my railing still wobbles.
  • Hang family portraits on stair wall. 
  • Get mirror for empty frame above entry table.
  • Paint hideous brass chandy black and top with adorable mini-shades that were in my formal dining room in my last house to replace the much-too-small fixture in the entry.
Living Room:
  • Repair giant wicker flamingo that Holly mauled. 
  • Raise curtain rod and lengthen curtains with interesting (not yet selected) fabric.
Kitchen and Dining Room:
  • Remove hideous wallpaper.
  • Remove chair rail and upside-down crown molding.
  • Paint beige-on-beige harlequins on kitchen walls.
  • Build banquette.
  • Raise and re-cover Craig's-list wingback chairs to use as host chairs.
  • Make baffle for drum shade over dining room table.
Laundry Room:
  • Make cafe curtains to hide my shame from the neighbors but still let in enough light to work.
  • Install more shelving/open storage for the less-used items from the kitchen
  • Possibly paint, but I have no idea what color.
Master Bedroom:
  • Install crown molding
  • Touch up paint (in the right light some areas are quite patchy).
Z's Room:
  • Paint yellow pine corner cabinet white
  • Wallpaper (okay, Contact Paper) the back of her shelves with SO cute green pattern
  • Sew pillow shams and second dust ruffle
Q's Room:
  • Finish rope detail around his ceiling
  • Put together his big-boy bed.
  • Buy/make big-boy bedding.
Kids' Bathroom:
  • Paint sand and sky colors (like I had in the old house).  Possibly with chair rail, but probably just paint treatment with palm trees.
  • Select/install non-hideous towel bars.
  • Make frames to hang over the builder-grade giant mirror
  • Spray paint the TP holder to match other finishes in the bathroom.
 Sewing Room/My Office:
  • Paint walls palest aqua.
  • Convert daybed to 'couch' (a small construction project) and upholster with fabulous cocoa-polka-dotted fabric.
  • Build custom desk that runs the length of the room with space for both my sewing machine and computer, with plenty of storage for sewing and crafting supplies.
  • Make a window treatment.
Guest Room:
  • Add accessories that haven't make it out of storage.
Guest Bath:
  • Find some art.
  • Circle border treatment like I saw at House*Tweaking, but with more colors.
Kids' Den:
  • Hang art.
  • Get kids' computer stations set up and running.
  • Find a home for all of the stuff in boxes from my parents' house.  Updated: Making good progress, but there is still a looooong way to go.


Parenting Skillz? I Haz 'Em.

We got to spend some time in the hospital with Q last spring when he was diagnosed with Asthma.  We were given a rigorous regimen of antihistamines, steroids and bronchodilators and told to watch him like a hawk.  And watch him we have.  He was doing great until the bitter cold hit.  The trick is that Q doesn't always wheeze or show any obvious signs of distress.  And while he is capable of giving a lengthy dissertation on Batman at any minute, he seems to be lacking the  vocabulary to let anyone know that he is totally sucking wind.

Case in point:  On Friday evening, I had reached my tolerance level for kid clutter in the living room.  Once we got the toys out of the floor and off the couch, I insisted they actually put the toys away in their rooms instead of just creating giant safety hazards by dumping them on the floor.  Z got her room picked up in a reasonable time, but Q was (literally) dragging his feet.  Finally, tired of all the begging, I allowed him to go to bed, with the promise to finish cleaning up first thing in the morning.

He was still sleeping when I went to pick up my Bountiful Basket.  When I got home, T said that he was complaining that his tummy hurt and that he was 'so tired.'  Since these are his fave excuses to get out of doing anything he isn't enthused about (ex: eating vegetables, sitting on the potty, letting the dogs out), I brushed off his complaints and sent him to his room to finish cleaning up.

He whined about it, but I stood firm.  He went to his room for about ten minutes then came out complaining that he was still tired.  So I told him to go lie down.  And he did.  When he got back up, I made him work on the mess again.  He worked himself up to tears and cried pitifully, but I was determined that he would clean up his toys.  (For the record, my standards are low.  All I require is that the toys are in bins and off the floor.  This job should have been cake.) 

This went on for ever.  To keep us from being late to a birthday party, I went in to direct traffic hoping to speed things up a bit.  All the while he is sobbing and sniffing and complaining about being tired.  Finally, I put aside my irritation and really looked at him.  His whole chest and belly were working with every breath.  I was horrified.

"Honey, do you need a breathing treatment?"  He sobbed yes with such obvious relief that I felt like a total heel.  Geez, just shoot me!  He asked if he could lie down while he took his treatment and was asleep as soon as I turned on the nebulizer.

Huh.  It turns out that at least some of the time, 'I'm tired' is code for 'I'm not getting enough oxygen.'  And 'My tummy hurts' means 'I am having to use my entire torso to get enough air so that I don't pass out.'  When I mentioned this epiphany to T, he told me that, yeah, when his breathing was bad, it made his abs hurt.  Gah.  That was intel I could have used sooner, dear helpmate!

Bring on the Mother of the Year Award. 

Needless to say, now, whenever he busts out his I-don't-wanna excuses, my first response is to ask if he needs a breathing treatment.  I guess it is better to have broken the code late than never. 


Brrrrr or Grrrrr?

It's cold.  Really cold.  Like we should be somewhere north of the Mason-Dixon Line cold.  (Bear in mind that I live in desert-y west Texas and am a cold weather WIMP!)  But wimpiness aside, I have actual proof of the extreme cold: my pipes are frozen. 

As part of the upstairs remodel, we decided to get the house re-plumbed.  There were pin-hole leaks in each of the walls the contractor opened up, so it seemed prudent to take care of it sooner rather than later.  We decided to go with PEX tubing since it would get all plumbing out of our foundation and was also reported to be 'freeze proof' by our builder.  In case of freeze, the pipes would swell to the size of a softball without bursting.  Sounds great, huh?

And it is.  The pipes have, in fact, not burst in the sub-freezing temperatures.  But frozen?  You bet!  Starting on Wednesday, we have had progressive water loss throughout our house.  First, we lost water to the kitchen sink.  Then we lost water to the water heater that supplies three-quarters of the house.  Then we lost water to the fridge.  Next came the master bathroom.  Luckily, the kids bathroom has its own water heater.  It is currently our only source of hot water.  The upstairs bathroom is still working, but only if you like cold showers.

Irony alert:  a couple of weeks ago when we had a hard frost, I noticed that the area over our garage was completely frost free.  I reported to T that we really needed to do something about the insulation there - we were losing a lot of heat!  He gave me the brush off and said the house was sealed up tight and not to worry my pretty little head over it. 

Once the pipes started freezing, he went up to the attic to see what was going on.  Huh.  The pipes weren't insulated!  As a matter of fact, the entirety of the new construction has cold air circulating freely under the (uninsulated) floor.  No wonder our utility bills have been so astronomical.  The heat was going straight out the attic vents.