On Thinking and Doing and Irony

The snickerdoodle is 4 and a half months old, and as was the case when the other two children hit that age, I am feeling all of my creativity pouring back. There are a thousand blog posts rolling around my head right now and the fictional characters are beginning to talk again (over each other at the moment. I need to sort through everyone to find Tracey again). I stained a bookshelf our friend Loran made us a year ago (and put it beside the couch and now I need another one for the other side. hint hint), re-covered an office chair and have been pouring over the Design*Sponge book my sister bought for me. I went into Home Depot for a new filter for my vacuum cleaner and found myself looking longingly at power tools. I want to renovate something.

The irony of all of this is that while I am googling “Can I change the color of my leather couch?” because it suddenly MUST BE RED, in the desperate dream of a home that one day looks like adults live in it, my apartment currently resembles what would happen if a frat house and a day care ever bred. (by the way, yes, you can re color leather for about the same price as buying a brand new sofa. Just FYI)

The new semester has real activities, and we spent several days fighting hair dwelling parasitic insects and I have a preschooler, a toddler and an infant, and the weather has been comfortable enough to go outside, which eats into my chore time. I could blame any one or all of those things, but the truth is this: I have always lived better in my head than in real life and I have a tendency to believe that what I imagine could happen one day is more important than the reality of what really is happening and going on and needing to be done right now.

There is nothing wrong with trying to make my home both more functional and more beautiful, but only if I am also keeping up with the mundane necessity of clean dishes, swept floors and scrubbed toilets.

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Our Plumbing Woes

It all started on Wednesday when I noticed that every time the washing machine drained, the guest toilet bubbled.  I didn’t think it was a good sign, so the second time it happened I mentioned it to Jonathan.  Thursday morning he went under the house with a snake (plumbing snake, not long cylindrical reptile) and made some noise and thought he’d fixed the problem.  Unfortunately, when we bathed the mackerdoodle Thursday evening, the guest toilet bubbled.  He was stumped.

Friday he took a bigger plumber’s snake to the problem.  Then we rented an even bigger snake, with a motor, and even that didn’t fix the problem.  Finally, he began digging up the yard, and he found an old septic tank sitting about four feet from our front door.  The clog appeared to be connected to it in some way, but Jonathan couldn’t get to it before he had to go pick up our friend Loran (Tera’s Loran).

By Friday night, I must admit I was cranky.  It was two days for Jonathan with no shower, one day for me, and an entire day without flushing any toilets, washing any dishes, or using our drains in any way.  When Jonathan rented the 100 foot snake, I had to help him with it – between feeding the infant, trying to keep the toddler out of things, and making sure that everyone got their naps and food and the house was sort of managed.  Plus, it felt like it was 600% humidity, and the mackerdoodle was having a whiny, clingy day – which is so rare for her.  I was feeling stinky and cranky and out of sorts.  Jonathan was feeling stinky and defeated.  We were not a happy couple – and poor Loran spent the evening with us.

Soap Clog

This morning, Loran came over to help Jonathan dig out the  old septic and very quickly they were able to find the pipe from our house going into the tank, and the pipe to the city sewage going out of the tank.  When they detached the pipe on the house side of the tank, they found a lump of  soap as big as a fist clogging up the pipe.

They broke it up and removed it from the pipe, but that left more questions: if soap was the problem,why didn’t any of the snakes remove it?  Why couldn’t they make it through?  What they found was bamboozling.  The main drain pipe from the house went into the septic tank, and dropped into it.  The snakes had been punching holes in  the soap clog, and then hitting the down spout into the tank and getting stuck.

The pipe going into the tank was broken and rusted out.  Essentially, the tank was acting as a large pipe fitting, collecting our sewage, and overflowing into the city sewage whenever it got too full.  It looks like it’s been doing this for YEARS.  To make matters worse, the tank was falling apart, clearly leaking into the ground around it and it wasn’t until the soap clog closed over that we even had a reason to look.

The solution: Jonathan and Loran inserted a piece of 4 inch PVC pipe through the middle of the crumbling septic tank, linking the “in” pipe with the city sewage on the other side.  At 7:30 Saturday evening, Jonathan yelled up to me, “Coralie, flush the toilet.”   I did so, with pleasure, and a satisfying gush of water went through the sewage clean out trap.

Jonathan’s taken a shower, I’ve run the dishwasher, and nothing has bubbled where it shouldn’t.  The best part is this: tomorrow is the Lord’s Day, and Jonathan can rest.

Pipe from the house with black septic sludge.
Pipe from the house with black septic sludge.
Pipe that used to go from the house pipe into the septic tank
Pipe that used to go from the house pipe into the septic tank
The replacement pipe covered in the goo from the bottom of the tank
The replacement pipe covered in the goo from the bottom of the tank
Loran fed the new pipe in one end, and Jonathan fished through septic sludge to catch it on the other side.
Loran fed the new pipe in one end, and Jonathan fished through septic sludge to catch it on the other side.

The Labor of Labor Day

Yesterday was a flurry of work around our house. Jonathan trimmed windows, and installed baseboard, and hung a door.So why all the activity? Because next weekend Bow hunting season for white-tail opens, and Jonathan is very motivated to free up enough time to spend quite a few hours up in a tree, aiming an arrow at Bambi, or his mother. All of his internet hunting board buddies think I’m so cool for not banning him from hunting now that we have a baby.

Of course I am fine with people thinking I’m awesome, but I know my husband. There will be a lot of early morning hunts, and he’ll tell me that he’s going to be out all day. Around noon he’ll come home saying “I’m just going to cuddle my daughter for a few minutes, and I’ll go back out.” Most evenings he won’t go back out.

He’ll get us a deer, possibly even two, but there is no fear of him abandoning us for hunting. The call of the wild can never call louder than the big eyes of Daddy’s little girl.

Finishing and Un-finished

Well, yesterday we bought and hung curtains in the house. After hanging them, and seeing how they make a room look so much more finished, I realized in a shock, that I have never owned curtains. We’ve always had those plastic blinds, and I’ve hung some unfinished fabric as a “valance”, but we’ve never purposefully purchased matching curtains for our homes. We’re finally growing up!Unfortunately, our contractors aren’t. We only hired out two jobs on our renovation project: tree removal and window installation. Neither one are done! In fact, after the third “I’ll for sure be there on . . .” that wasn’t met by our tree guy (who is our second tree guy. The first had knee surgery and couldn’t do the job.) I actually cried on the telephone! I can’t believe that people run their businesses this way!

All that needs to be finished on the windows is two pieces of trim. How hard is that? They were “guaranteed” to be back Monday to do the last of the trim work. It’s almost 4 on Tuesday, and still no window guys.

So if you think you can drop three dead trees without damaging my house or fence, PLEASE come and do it! We’ll even pay you! And you can come in for coffee and cookies, and see our curtains. Deal?

Checking In

Well, we’ve moved into the new house, but our internet isn’t up and won’t be until Thursday. I am, at the moment, borrowing a tablespoon of bandwidth from a neighbor’s wireless setup.On the baby front, I am pleased to announce that I have begun to have some strong Braxton Hicks contractions (once I figured out that’s what it was) so I am hopeful that she will arrive without the need of inducement. Everyone kept telling me “Oh, you’ll know when you’re having a contraction!” but when they started I didn’t know that’s what it was. In fact, I did and entire blog about having contractions last Sunday (July 29) and still didn’t realize that’s what I was feeling until my friend Andrea said “I think that’s a Braxton Hicks contraction.”

We will be bringing the computer with us to the hospital whenever we go, so the next post here will be THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT.

I did dream last night that I felt a contraction and “POP” there was a baby. I don’t think that’s prophecy, do you?

House – Just About a Home

Well, if I was able to force myself into labor, today would probably have done it. That being said, I would have been FAR MORE likely to put myself into labor if it hadn’t been for the outstanding assistance of our fantastic friends. Really, I can’t tell you what a labor of love this house has been, and what a blessing to us!

Today the house went from a construction zone to a house. You can walk from our front door to our kitchen without tripping over wood, sheetrock or tools! Also, you can drink water from my fridge, and get ice. In theory you could cook on my stove. If you would like to test that theory, feel free. We generally eat supper around seven. 🙂 Of course, unless you can create a gourmet meal from left over pizza and two paint covered paint rollers, you’d have to bring your own groceries. Which could now be stored in my refrigerator and cupboards.

Andrea and her son Andy cleared the trash from our front porch and yard. Oh yeah, you just have to know that was a horrible job! Imagine the construction detritus of board trims, fragments of sheetrock, tile shards, cardboard, plastic, and the remains of all those brought in lunches, all bound with a paste of sawdust, tile dust, morter, paint and caulk. Now imagine that damp from a recent rain, and falling into the pine straw that once was some sort of landscaping. Yeah. Now picture loading it all into the back of Jonathan’s truck, along with the cardboard boxes from our appliances, cabinets, toilets, fixtures, lights, etc.

Just makes you cry that couldn’t come out and share in the fun, doesn’t it?

After that, Terri came and cleaned the construction residue from my new shower, cleaned and sealed my granite, removed the stickers from, and cleaned, my new windows, and installed all the shelves in my wall cabinets.

And Brittany was a general “gofer” who broke down boxes, hauled multiple pounds of “big enough to keep” wood and sheetrock upstairs, mopped floors, hauled trash in bags, and was my “just in case” chaperon when I went out to get pizza for supper – you know the one who can “take over if I have an enormous contraction and start delivering the baby right now.” Apparently that happens all the time. (Uh huh) In reality she was very helpful when it came to carrying two gallons of sweet tea, so I’m certainly not complaining about the attentiveness I’m getting from everyone.

Here’s the other thing I kept getting: “Don’t you need to sit down for a minute? I can handle this.”

Now when “this” is something like peeling potatoes or making a salad, I can dig it. I’ve said it myself to my sister, and a few other pregnant friends. But when “this” is collecting the several hundred bottles of molding almost empty Coke and Powerade bottles from the various ledges and window sills of a home, I’ve just got to say, I think my friends are better friends than I! I have a feeling I’d be saying “Don’t you need to sit down for a few minutes? I’ll find a teenager to look after this.”

Mike and Jim were back in the evening, and installed the bi-fold laundry doors, the smoke detectors, the plate and switch covers, the few door and window casings that had been removed and exterior lights.

Even Brittany’s parents, who came to pick her up after their date night this evening, got sucked into the work vortex. Her dad helped finish up the last of the trim work in both bathrooms, and her mom and I (both pregnant) found things to do that didn’t involve bending, stretching, lifting, or standing for long periods. We removed the stickers from the appliances, installed the filters under the microwave/hood, polished the glass top of the stove with the glass top cleaner.

Anyway, we’ve got our final inspections tomorrow morning, and if they sign off, we can move in Saturday. Jonathan intends me to be present, quietly sitting in my rocking chair looking 9 months pregnant while the men inspect. He hopes it will send the message “This woman is so pregnant that a failure might send her into labor right now, forcing YOU to deliver this baby in an empty house it can’t move into because you didn’t pass a double circuit breaker,” or, at the very least, “We don’t have enough time to not pass.”

Caleb asked me today if I was excited about Tuesday. I just about asked him what was happening Tuesday. I’m focused on inspections tomorrow. Then I’ll be focused on moving Saturday. Then I’ll worry about Tuesday.

Unless Pomegranate demands attention before that. Which could happen.

Inducing

Well, the baby has dropped like I thought, but I’m neither dilated nor effaced. Also, my blood pressure was a few points higher than last week, and the baby’s heart rate was a few beats slower than it has been. Because of this, the nurse practitioner was worried about stress on me and the baby. She consulted with my doctor and moved the day of inducing.

I’m checking in at 4:30 pm on August 7th. They’ll give me oral prostaglandins every four hours and begin a pitocin drip at 6:00 am on August 8th. Unless, of course, something happens sooner.

In other news: we’ll be moving Saturday – drop by if you’re in the area 🙂