The following posts 1 March 2008Posted by Obi-Mom Kenobi in Uncategorized.
add a comment
The following posts (earlier posts) are all from an older blog that have been merged into this one to save the pictures attached. Just so you know.
The Boys With Their Matching Ornament Hats 21 December 2007Posted by Obi-Mom Kenobi in Padawan Learner, Simplicity.
1 comment so far
We got together with Qui-Gon Jinn, Yoda and the boys after gymnastics this week. For Christmas, I made each of the boys a hat that looks like a Christmas ornament. You can kind of see the metallic top and loop on Lando’s hat, but I obviously should have stood a bit higher up to get a better shot. It was hard enough to keep them all in one spot, though, let alone pose them. Yoda was a little baking busy bee last weekend and brought us all goodies to take home. Qui-Gon Jinn crocheted us the most delicate snowflake ornaments and found us each a ceramic bird to hang in our Christmas trees.
Our Dutch teacher was off to Florida to see her mom, aunts and uncles this week for a rare family reunion so we didn’t have a dutch lesson yesterday. This felt odd. I was happy to oblige, however, as this was the first time that her mom (The Netherlands), uncle (Florida), and two aunts (Australia) had seen each other in several years. This family has a unique and interesting history. All the kids were born and spent the majority of their childhoods in the Dutch colony of Indonesia (known at the time as the Netherlands East Indies), having a father in the Dutch military. During WWII, Indonesia was invaded by the Japanese so the mother and kids were forced to live in a Japanese concentration camp for the duration of WWII. The father was immediately pressed into duty as a POW and worked on the Death Railway of Burma among other things. The brother, in his early teens, was later pressed into service as younger and younger men were pulled from the camps to replace dead and dying POWs. Very fortunately, all members of this family survived the ordeal of forced labor and imprisonment and at the war’s end were transported to The Netherlands on merchant ships and troop carriers. My dutch teacher’s mom (12 at the time, I believe) snuck her Indonesian pet cat on-board, completely against regulations, and several months after arriving in their new home kittens with the stumped tail typical in Indonesia could be seen living in and around their neighborhood.
Living in my living room 10 December 2007Posted by Obi-Mom Kenobi in Uncategorized.
I know something you don’t know. I know something you don’t know. I know exactly how many cars turn both left and right off a southbound exit ramp and turn left onto a southbound entrance ramp at a certain road on a US highway, between noon and 12:30 p.m. on a typical Saturday. How is that? Because The Boy and I went counting cars this weekend with The Dad. Oh, yes, it’s true. Our lives are completely crazy. As it turns out, a fair number do but the exit ramp does not backup excessively, even though the wait can be a couple of minutes sometimes. It’s really a perfect place for a roundabout…
After that adventure, we headed off to find a Christmas tree. The Christmas tree. The one Christmas tree to rule them all. Ok, maybe not to rule them all, but definitely the best one to dominate a corner of our living room for the next several weeks. I think we succeeded. In our quest to incorporate the brightly lit evergreen into the dark, and only getting darker winter season:
The Boy tested out the all-important huggableness factor (huggability?) of different trees.
We agreed to take this little number home. Thanks to the anonymous stranger that took our picture.
The Dad gave The Boy some tips and held the tree as The Boy worked the handsaw.
After setting up our new friend, and having a little discussion about how friends don’t let friends run out of water or drop needles all over the floor, we gave the tree some time to settle in and shed any extra ice or snow still clinging to its branches before moving in for the decorating session.
Ah, yes, the decorating session. I plugged in all the strands to make sure they were operational. We were go for lighting. The Dad hung the first set of lights. We plugged them in to see how they looked. And then there was… no light. He took them down and we tried various methods of reviving the strand: check for loose bulbs; check for missing bulbs; check the outlet; shake strand vigorously; swear under breath. Nothing. Hmm, how odd. Hmm, soldier on.
I checked the second stand and we were once again operational. The Dad hung the second set of lights. We plugged them in to see how they looked. Again, no light. This time, however, we did find a bulb that had fallen out while they were going up onto the tree. Eureka! Back up they went and this time they worked perfectly. Ok, we were on our way with the lights – right up until the point where we ran out with still a full third of the tree to go. Conveniently, we live within walking distance of a store that sells tree lights. After finishing the lighting, we dug out our tree garland, ornaments and tree skirt and went the distance. With all three of us hanging things, it took no time at all.
When all was said and done, we turned out the rest of the lights, turned on some Christmas music and relaxed in the glow of our happy little Christmas tree.
Let the baking begin!
We Ran Away From the Bathtub… 16 October 2007Posted by Obi-Mom Kenobi in Home Improvements.
This past Thursday, we ran away from all our bathroom woes for a long weekend vacation (yes, the shower re-construction is still going). We ran all the way to Madison, Wisconsin, in fact. It was colder than we expected that weekend and we only brought light jackets along so our hands were more than a wee bit chilly. We didn’t really have anything specifically in mind for entertainment and we didn’t know anyone that could show us around town, BUT…
- our hotel had a large, indoor swimming pool (82 F) and relaxing hot tub (102 F). Additionally, there was about 20 kids around The Boy’s age who were in town for a soccer tournament so he joined in their game of keep away (the ball from the dads) in the pool.
- the keepers at Henry Vilas Zoo were just filling the American Alligator tank back up with water, after cleaning it, so we got to see two of them up close and personal, and were completely surprised by a third one crashing into the pool after being (forcibly) pushed back into the exhibit room. I think we all jumped back about three feet.
- the topping choices for pizza at Ian’s Pizza were awesome (if slightly strange), but we all found something to enjoy. They had a great “small” salad idea too. You picked which type of greens you wanted and then got to pick three “add in’s” and the dressing of your choice. They put it all together for you, shook it around in a large bowl to mix and handed it over. It was very yummy.
- we found a cool limestone cave out in Mt Horeb, called Cave of the Mounds, and roamed around in it. The temperature in the cave matched the temperature outside, which doesn’t happen too often.
The Boy wanted his picture taken in front of this formation, I think it’s called flow stone.
- lunch and dinner in a couple of good, local brew pubs still tastes better than cooking it myself (especially the lamb stew at Brocach and the pot pie at The Great Dane).
- we had a relaxing morning driving around looking at some of the local neighborhoods and the surrounding countryside.
- the Wisconsin Historical Museum gave us a chance to learn more about 10,000 years of Wisconsin history. The statue below emphasized that cheese is only a small fraction of the state’s industry and commerce; the cow is standing on a “field” of nuts and bolts.
The Boy narrowly escapes a tree being felled back during the lumber age
- Oceans 13 called our names one night, from the pay per view channel. It was brainless and mediocre and completely, ridiculously expensive and we all enjoyed it very much anyway.
- we had a real, working shower at our disposal and could take one whenever we wanted! Ah, simple pleasures.
The Necessary New Shape of the Bathroom Shower 4 October 2007Posted by Obi-Mom Kenobi in Home Improvements.
Yes, here it is. Two days and a basketful of money later, our new shower is mostly installed. We have to drywall this weekend – oh, fun – and then The Plumber will be back on Monday to install the shower door. As boxy and ungainly as it appears right now, the bathroom will only get more claustrophobic feeling once the drywall is up and the room is repainted. Above is from inside the bathroom looking out.
This is the tunnel of darkness looking into the bathroom. The darkness will only fill in as the drywall covers up all the little light-emitting spaces around the current shower wall. Please excuse me a moment while I go bang my head on the wall to numb my sorrow.
Notice the way that the existing flooring doesn’t match up with the new shower shape. Quite lovely, wouldn’t you agree? We’re discussing possible fixes at present, but will probably end up leveling up the floor at that spot and installing a small amount of tile between the short walls on either side, directly in front of the shower door opening.
My Money Tree Has Lost All Its Leaves 4 October 2007Posted by Obi-Mom Kenobi in Home Improvements.
add a comment
The basement shower had to be completely ripped out and replaced. This took two full days. Two full days. That’s 8:00am to 4:30 pm, two days in a row. In the effort, just about everything that could go wrong with a shower replacement did. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the expression “Huh” (said in a surprised voice) loses its amusing charm after about the fifth time.
Moments of infamy from yesterday alone:
- I over-sleep and am awoken at 8am by the answering machine taking a call from The Plumber informing me that he is on his way over. After scrambling out of bed and racing for the phone, I attempt to break the world speed-dressing record as he is only three houses away.
- The Plumber (immediately upon seeing my shower) says, “Huh” (in a surprised voice) and then announces that the particular shower design we have is absolutely just about the worst shower design in history. He precedes to tell me about how the shower is failing, what type of problems we are experiencing and describes, in detail, the extent and areas of wall damage and mold we have found. He is spot on in absolutely every way.
- The Plumber informs me that he had just replaced that same type of shower at another location the day before, after attempting to repair it (at the owners request) over the course of three months.
- I politely request that he just tear the *&^(%$# thing out and put a new one in its place. I am not interested in playing around with a leaky shower for the next three months. Five years has been enough already.
- The Plumber sees the upstairs bathtub/shower situation and announces that the sub floor is ruined, the toilet is potentially leaking and the tub faucet handles are stripped. The tile (circa 1949 and no longer in circulation) will have to be removed (via smashing) to get back at the faucet mechanism. When I balk at smashing through perfectly good tile, he mentions that our only other solution is to access the mechanism through the ceiling of the stairwell directly behind it. Oh, and by the way, had I noticed that two of the tiles are already cracked and possibly leaking slightly?
- The Plumber goes back to his office to request that the owner call me with a pre-work estimate while he gathers the necessary tools and extra supplies for a tear out and re-install. The owner calls and I receive the first bit of good news for the day. They have a perfect sized neo-angle shower – in stock – that was special ordered for another job but didn’t end up getting used. He’ll give me a discount on it since the previous person paid a restocking fee for changing her mind about the size she wanted at the last minute. As a reality check, he gives me an expected price range. I wonder what the going rate for selling plasma is currently.
- The Plumber returns, begins to tear out the old shower and says many, many “huh’s” as he finds all kinds of screw ups in the installation of the previous shower. Far too numerous to list here.
- The shower, the wonderful neo-angle shower that will perfectly fit into the existing space and look similar to the previous one, does not fit down our basement’s narrow stairwell. Much time ($) and effort ($) is expended transporting the glorious shower to our house, into our entryway, and back onto the truck to the plumbing store. I die a little inside.
- We are now confined to a standard square shower, good-bye discount. As an added bonus, the boxy shape of the shower will effectively block all light from over the sink fixture from getting to the door leading into the room.
- A wall has to be built for the side wall of the new square shower. This will add four inches of width to the shower area, shrinking the open space around the pedestal sink.
- The back wall for the new shower has to be rebuilt, pushing the shower yet another four inches closer to the sink.
- The cement slab floor has to be tore up so that the drain can be repositioned. “Huh.” Our drain is sitting just below the floor level, just over the main sewer line leading out of the bathroom. Very little drain pipe is available for the new reconnect.
- The new shower will not completely cover the cutout area of the bathroom’s distinctively patterned vinyl flooring. We are short about 5 inches on one side of the new shower.
On a positive note, we are allowed to use the bathtub upstairs (but not the shower head) for washing up. While laying in the tub and attempting to wash my hair, I successfully refrain from slipping completely under the water in an effort to avoid having to deal with any more shower issues the next day.