Category Archives: the lived in house

Monday morning

The weather today is beautiful. Warm, breezy, more than one could hope for in mid-November. But tonight, there will be rain. And rain always means the potential for water in our basement.

We are learning to be proactive. (Sometimes being an adult stinks.)

Mike mentioned he needed to blow the leaves out of the basement stairwell (because they clog the french drain, causing water to end up in our basement.) But he had a wicked 24-hour virus yesterday, so I told him I would take care of it today.

“I can do it.”

“You will?” (sounding a little more surprised than I thought was appropriate.)



After he left, I headed out to the shed in my white t-shirt and skirt I had already donned for the day because this wasn’t really yard work, it was just a quick leaf removal. Kind of like vacuuming. Easy peasy.

After I kvetched over getting to the leaf blower that was hung by someone very tall over the mower that I couldn’t reach over, and finally got it down, I realized by the cobwebs on it that I had in fact struggled to get the old, non-working, why-do-we-still-have-this leaf blower.

I turned to see the new-this-one-works leaf blower right behind me on the floor. In pieces. It’s supposed to be in pieces, I assume, but I do not possess leaf blower assembly without directions abilities. Besides, it was kind of dirty, and I was wearing a white shirt. Hmpf.

Plan B – the wet/dry vac was handy so I grabbed that, found an extension cord and began sucking up the leaves that way. About the time I thought I might just be able to scoop a bunch up faster with my hands, I saw the biggest (hopefully dead) spider I have ever seen and decided a slow suck of leaves with the machine was better than coming anywhere close to touching such a beast.

Then it was time to empty the dry vac and I couldn’t get the stupid lid off which just frustrated me to no end. I finally got it to come off, emptied the bucket (eww) (thinking a self-cleaning wet/dry vac would be the invention of the year), and headed back for the second half. About this time, I looked around to make sure no one was watching me, because graceful I wasn’t.

I began to think that maybe a dry vac wasn’t really designed for the bulk of leaves, but leaves are light and fluffy. It’s a wet/dry vac. It can handle water. What’s a few leaves?

I was almost finished when I lost suction again. I emptied it again and put it back together, but still had no suction.

I had already run across the brother spider to the first spider and was pretty sure at least one of them was still stuck in the hose part of the vacuum. I imagined him fighting the air flow and crawling his way back out to get his revenge and eat my face off for sucking him up a hose.

So I found a stick and shoved it in the hose to try to unclog it. I forced a clog into the middle of the hose. Um, great. So then I found a longer stick and shoved it in the hose.

At this point I checked again to be sure no one was videoing this disaster because I’m sure I looked like a grade A idiot.

The longer stick was about a foot too short. So I used the shorter one to keep shoving the longer one through to the other end.

Aaannnnd got the long stick stuck in the middle of the hose.

Of course I did.

Now I’m flailing the hose around like a snake trying to get the clog, the stick, anything but the spiders out of the hose.

I used the small stick from the other end to shove the large stick back out. Unplugged everything and put it back in the garage. I grabbed the rest of the leaves with my hands, spiders or not, and finished my easy little project. Heh.

The stairs look good. Hope the basement stays dry. Lesson for the day: Don’t use a wet/dry vac to suck up leaves unless you have a super long stick that can clean out the clog and/or have your husband assemble the leaf blower before he leaves for work.



Feeling a little chatty today. Ahem.

I took Nick to Home Depot yesterday to buy a 2×4 to use as a balance beam. I got a chance to see some of the PT he does at school and much of it are things that we could easily be practicing at home, assuming I have them on a to-do list to cross off.

Our 2×4 is nowhere near as nice as the school’s but ours was only $2.30. The school’s might actually be a 3×3, but I’m calling it close enough.

Anyway, Nick was very happy with our new purchase and apparently felt a certain amount of ownership. Maggie came home from school and a melee ensued over the 2×4 piece of lumber on our living room floor.

They took turns. Only because an adult was standing there making sure no one took a 2×4 to the head.

Today, minutes after Maggie got home from school, I came into the living room to see Nick stretched out (the boy is l-o-n-g) on the 2×4.

“Are you lying on that so Maggie can’t get on it?”

“Yes. It’s mine.”

At least he’s honest.

I guarantee you if I had bought two of them, no one would want to use either of them.


how it begins

My children were playing Harry Potter in the basement with friends. They use my suitcase as their trunk when they are waiting for the train to Hogwarts.

Somehow the suitcase made it to the top of the stairs before it was abandoned for another part of the story.

My husband moved the suitcase out of the hallway into our bedroom, next to my closet.

I came to bed after he was asleep and  tiptoed around in the dark getting my pajamas on because I am a considerate person who doesn’t want to wake anyone. (ever. I pretty much NEVER want to wake anyone. It’s a good rule to live by.)

I put the clothes I took off on top of the suitcase that was in front of my closet.

THAT is how a pile gets started around here.

It begins so innocently.


After a long hiatus, I never know if I should catch you up on everything I’ve written in my head or just jump in with what’s in my head right now. (My head is a very, very full place.)

My parents have a cartoon on their wall that says “Filers should not marry pilers.” I’ve mentioned this cartoon before. I quote it all the time. What I’m just now realizing is pilers should not give birth to pilers and expect them to be filers.

Did you get that?

I’m having all sorts of drama over school work not coming home, completed homework not being turned in, and general disorganization. The guilty party (besides, well, me) doesn’t care. She has taken a few penalties at school, things that I think bother her, but she finds a way to not let it outwardly bother her.

I even talked to a counselor at school who mentioned one of the most important things:  Lead by example.

My dear piling child and I are screwed.

gold coins

I have deadlines coming up for a few different projects, no naturally now is when I decide to take a few minutes to write. Ha.

I posted on Facebook the other day that Maggie’s endocrinologist’s computer says she will likely be 6’1″ tall. About a year ago, it predicted 6′ even, so the prediction is going up. She says she will still listen to me when she is looking down at me. We’ll see.

Another interesting thing happened at this doctor visit. The Dr. (whom I love and adore and appreciate immensely) asked Maggie what the tooth fairy gave her for her missing tooth.

“A gold coin worth 100 cents,” she said.

“A gold dollar coin?” he asked.

“Yes! That’s what she brings every time.”

Turning to me, he says “Where do you get the gold coins?”

Ummmm, I DIDN’T GET THE GOLD COINS. THE TOOTH FAIRY brings the coins. Hello???!!!

“I’m not sure where the TOOTH FAIRY gets them,” I said trying to get the point across.

He seemed to get it and we moved on.

And then a few minutes later he brought the gold coins up again. I answered as quickly as I could and changed the subject politely.

I waited for Maggie to ask about it later, but she hasn’t yet. So she either heard, knows and isn’t willing to risk it, or she didn’t hear. The Dr does have a thick accent, so there is a chance she missed that part of the conversation.

I guess the really ironic part is that I have a stash of gold coins that I got from the ice machine near my in-laws that returns gold coins for change when you buy ice. (which I figured was a bit too long to try to explain to the dr.) I also got a handful of them from their Grandpa Joe. After the first three teeth, I figured I better hide my back-up gold coins a little better so the tooth fairy didn’t get busted.

And now I can’t exactly find them. So for the last tooth, I found one of Maggie’s coins that she has already received from the tooth fairy, and gave it to her again. I know, that’s horrible. She has no idea.

And someday, she will read this. Hopefully not until well after she doesn’t believe in the tooth fairy anymore. (Maggie, I owe you a dollar. Love, Mom)

when one door slams

I used to be a door slammer. Every once in a while I revert back to my old door-slamming ways, but for the most part, I am a recovered door slammer. Or at least, that’s what I think.

I still close doors with emphasis when I get really frustrated.

A funny story (now, 14 years later, it’s funny) from long ago: When my husband and I had first begun to share a home, and were still working out the kinks of a new relationship and cohabitation, I got really mad during an argument, stomped off and slammed the bedroom door.

Well, I tried to slam the bedroom door. It got stuck on a rug that was nearby and wouldn’t slam. In my growing frustration, I repeatedly tried to slam the door getting the rug further jammed under the door. After about four minutes of trying to slam the door, I huffed and walked into another bedroom and slammed that door.

Recently my children have started slamming doors. They slam them in each other’s faces when they get angry with each other. They slam them to prove that their room is their room. They slam them to prove that they can. And sometimes they just shut them loudly and it sounds like a slam.

It makes me crazy.


We’ve talked about door slamming. We’ve talked about what it feels like to have a door slammed in your face. We’ve talked about how much it would hurt to have a finger slammed in a door. We’ve talked about how loud it is and how much it bothers mommy. We’ve talked and talked and talked.

And if you come to visit our house right now, there is a certain seven-year-old who no longer has a door to her bedroom.

Is it Monday?

It’s 8:40am and I already have blog fodder from today. That is not right.

My husband called my name (more than once) while I was still in bed. In bed, ignoring him, because I was asleep. When he kept getting louder, I finally got up grumbling “What?!” thinking the there better be something major going on or heads were going to roll.

(Aside: Have I mentioned how much I love sleep and that the later I get to sleep the happier I am? This was 45 minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off.)

“The (house) alarm won’t turn off,” he said.

So I did what any grumpy spouse would do, I tried to turn it off myself. Nothing. It was showing that the alarm was activated, meaning we couldn’t open any doors, and it wouldn’t take our code. We were basically trapped. Yay.

I called the alarm company, which was closed (because it was so freaking early) and got a 24-hour help number. Called that number and got a recording saying he was helping another customer (which I took to mean he wasn’t answering his phone because he was asleep because it was so freaking early.)

Then the alarm starting asking for access codes and beeping intermittently. With growing intensity. Until we were at full tilt steady ear-piercing beep. (I will note here, that the whole house alarm was not going off, thank goodness, just the ear-bleeding control panel.)

I called the 24-hour number again and kind of held the phone to the alarm to make his ears bleed too show the intensity of our problem.

Then I assaulted the control panel with unkind words and pushed some random buttons and it stopped.

Next I called the 1-800 number for the central station to report “issues” but the 1-800 number I dialed told me about some other 1-800 number for constant companionship or some other skanky sounding thing. Ewww. Called the alarm company again to get the number again and realized I had misheard the number the first time – go figure, my ears weren’t working properly.

So I called the right 1-800 number and they basically told me what I thought they would, which was that they could not give me any technical advice. We decided to put the system on test for a few hours so that we didn’t have the police show up on our doorstep. She asked my phone number, which I could not remember.

Seriously, I stared at the home phone wondering what the last four digits were. Then I panicked that they would think I was a robber and send the police anyway. I ran to ask Mike our phone number and he didn’t know it either, so he checked his phone. I had told her a number by now that sounded close, but not quite right. Turned out I was off by one digit.

Mornings are not my best time. Ahem.

And my ears were still ringing.

I did remember our password, and finally got the phone number right, so that part was taken care of. (I know she hung up and looked at the person in the next cubicle and said “That idiot didn’t even know her own phone number.”)

After 25 minutes of not getting a phone call back and my husband getting more and more annoyed, I finally took matters into my own hands. I opened the back panel (which I know how to do because I replaced the alarm battery yesterday – aha – you say – this makes more sense now. Yes, the battery needed to be replaced, but I followed their directions exactly and the alarm was fine last night.) I opened the panel and removed the battery. Then I went to the main power source, unscrewed the safety screw and unplugged the damn thing.

Ahhhh, no more beeping. No more blaring. No one puts baby in a corner.

Aaaand 4 minutes later the service tech called. I had to plug it back in and the beeping started again. Tears, people. Tears from my eyes and more blood from my ears. OK, not really, but I was not a happy person.

Turns out the alarm “reset” itself to factory settings. So our code didn’t work because it had no idea what our code was. We used the factory code and it happily shut off.

So while we wait for a technician to come reprogram, I’m going to take a handful of Advil for the ear pain.

Before Maggie left this morning she looked at me and said “You need a nap today. A long, long nap.”