Friday, May 30, 2008

Panda Surgeon

Labels to add to my litany of job descriptions over there. Panda Surgeon. Healer of Stuffed Animals.

Why the sudden increase in stuffed animal infirmities, you may be asking yourself. Well, there's a story to be told here.

Over the past couple of years I've learned to choose my battles with my son. What is really important enough to wage war over and what are things we can come to a compromise on. One of the battles I chose to compromise on was the issue of throwing his stuffed animals. Stuffed animals may now be thrown but only in the playroom and even then, not at people, not at the living animals and not at the windows. It's all about the loopholes with him!

Back to the Panda Bear. Not too long ago, while exercising his right to throw stuffed animals in the playroom, Jacob discovered that if he threw them high enough and at the correct angle they would reach the ceiling fan. Of course, my brilliant child isn't content with merely learning on one level. He must always wander up to a higher level--as in: I wonder what would happen if, say...the fan was actually turned on?

Poor, poor Panda was a victim of this curiosity. Panda hit the ceiling fan while it was spinning. It wasn't the flying off of the fan that did him in. It was more of the being slammed against the wall and the rough landing that almost tore his little leg off.

Fortunately for the lives and limbs of the remaining animals I always allow for rules to be amended. Unfortunately for the same said animals, once Jacob has discovered a new and greater form of destruction it's awfully difficult--nay, impossible--to enforce a cease and desist ruling.

Panda is all stitched up and healing nicely, thanks for asking. Even managed to replace most of his stuffing--though, if you ask me, he could do with a little less stuffing. However, it's got to be rather difficult to remain relaxed and calm when there's an anklesaurus nibbling at your other leg!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Why there's not a DVD player in my car...

Because to miss out on these little gems of conversations would be a tragedy!

This morning on the way to the babysitter's...

"Why are you washing your windshield?"

"Because there's bird poop right at my eye level"

"Why is there bird poop on there?"

"Well, I park the car under the tree and then the birds poop on the windshield."

"I'm going to tell the birds not to poop on your car."

"Oh...okay"

"BIRDS! DON'T POOP ON MOMMY'S CAR!"

"Do you think the birds are going to listen to you?"

big, heavy, almost 3-year-old sigh...

"I think they won't."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The crawling game...

Kyleigh spent most of today exploring Kokoo and Babu's home--there's a lot for a 7-month-old baby girl to find! Dead bugs, newspapers, big brother's toys, power cords...

And this is what happens when Mommy puts the computer down at her level--for those who didn't believe me when I said she was crawling!

video

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I've been negligent

I'm so sorry. I have been slacking on bathroom updates. Some of you just might actually be interested in our home improvement fiasco...um...project.

We did manage to get our plumbing issues fixed--no more leaks and it only took two weeks to replace four feet of copper pipe. We even managed to get our new bathtub installed--two days after my parents got here, but at least we had the toilet and sink usable so no one was having to navigate stairs at 2am to go to the bathroom!

Thursday night my parents moved the rest of their belongings out to their house and are now living out there. The little ones and myself went out to Chez Kokoo this morning and spent a lovely, relaxing day with grandparents and cousins. Jacob had a great time playing in the river. Kyleigh enjoyed being adored and the center of attention showing off her new teeth and crawling skills.

This is what was waiting to greet us when we returned home this evening. Notice something missing?

Hint...THE FLOOR! Oh, and the toilet and the sink.

Whomever (we'll call him Idiot #1) worked on this room the last time neglected to use proper weight plywood for the sub-floor. The cross-species experiment of using raw wood around a bathtub also caused what sub-floor there was to rot beyond any reusable state. So it all had to go. Apparently Husband added to his vocabulary today--one of the reasons we vacated the premises for the day.

But the new tub and surround walls are lovely! Just ignore the toilet in the bathtub. What? That's not where you keep yours?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My drug of choice

Once again my suppliers came through. My dad snuck into a liquor store in Nairobi and scored a bag of Chevda for me. While I actually can find this in Indian grocery stores here, it just doesn't taste the same. So, thanks Dad for supporting my habit.

And now I have Jacob hooked. Yes, I know--I'm a lousy mom!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Behind the glamor...

Some person, with nothing better to do, might be wondering what the work space of a "free lance video editor" looks like.

Well, here you go. This is it. The nerve center of Kuona Productions. What didn't make it into the picture is the desk top's monitor--mainly because I didn't want witnesses to the mahjong game kicking my butt.

I'm currently editing simultaneously in NTSC and PAL formats--that's what happens when one has an international client and both formats were used in filming. Fortunately for me--and my budget--the Apple gods made Final Cut capable of doing just that! I did, however, have to purchase a PAL camcorder to play back the PAL tapes (which is why there's a camcorder hooked up to Mini Mac).


And my other piece of essential equipment--without which I would get little to no work done. The swing. Having a very tolerant, happy baby certainly helps as well!

Yep. Beats a cubical and a time clock any day!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

I'm finally a true member in this club we call "blogging"! I was tagged for my first "meme" by Suburbia. So let's play, shall we?

Here are the rules:
Link to the person who tagged you.
Post the rules on your blog.

Write six random things about yourself.
Tag six people at the end of your post linking to their blog.
Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Six, neither interesting nor too revealing, things about me:

1. I am not a plumber
2. My first real job was busing tables at Charlie's in Charlotte
3. I have college transcripts from 5 different colleges--from 4 states and 2 countries.
4. I have lived in more houses than years I've been alive
5. I've had plastic surgery
6. I have two tattoos

Now I have to figure out if I know 6 people! So, tag--you're it!

Amy, Gina , Marit, Melanie, Sean, K

You don't have to play if you don't want to--but, come on...it'll be fun!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

What's in your 'fridge?

I ran out to the vet's this morning to pick up food and meds for the cat. While I was standing at the counter waiting for paperwork to print I noticed a lady sitting in the waiting area without a pet. Shortly, one of the vet techs came out carrying a shoe box poked with holes and walked over to the lady. She took the box and opened it--and I expected some sort of baby talk to commence between the lady and the critter in the box. Instead I overhead this:

Lady: We won't be able to bury him until tomorrow. Do I just keep him in the 'fridge overnight?

Tech: Sure, that's fine. Just put him in a ziploc bag or something.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kokoo and Babu are here!

I bribed Jacob into a nap this afternoon. I told him if he took a really good nap then he could stay up and wait for Kokoo and Babu. Sure enough, he fell fast asleep on his rug (because that's where we take naps now). We were sitting on the front steps when they pulled in the driveway.

Babu gave him a bath, Kokoo read him a story and they both tucked him into bed. He's a very happy Jacob tonight!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

For those interested...

Safety precautions prevent me from going too in depth on where my parents usually work. However, I came across a rather interesting series of articles on the BBC website. Thought some of you might find it interesting...

Kokoo 1 is in the air!

KLM has a nifty little flight tracker on their website. And the flight my parents are supposed to be on just showed up as departed. They are scheduled to arrive in Washington DC just before 4pm tomorrow, planning on making it to our house later on that evening.

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers!

Monday, May 12, 2008

I thought I'd stick with the kitty motif I had going--sort of symbolic feline bookends.

I have a cup of tea (decaf Constant Comment) sitting in front of me. One of many, many cups of tea consumed over the past several days. Husband teases that it was all those years around the British that instilled the notion that tea cures all. Well, it does! And this cup of tea is about to accompany me and my book upstairs. But I wanted to write this. I shared the bad and it's only fair that I share the good.

I am worn out. I am waterlogged. But tonight I'm also peaceful. I realize that it will be a long road back to finding the things that brought us together--the partnership, the laughter, the sharing of a life. But we've taken those first truly difficult steps. And we've taken them together--as partners.

It's a hard, hard thing--the admitting of a wrong, An even harder thing; the asking for forgiveness. It's so much easier to just go along playing the injured party, all the while ignoring the fact that this person walking beside me is hurting and that my actions or lack there of are a large source of that pain. This person who means more to me than the air I breath. This person who has withstood my verbal onslaughts time and time again. And yet he has remained by my side and has loved me.

I mentioned before that he is a super hero . Here's the proof. I have never been an easy person to live with--all of my boarding school roommates can attest to that! I will always want my own way. I am far too stubborn and opinionated. I yell too much. I get cranky when I don't get enough sleep--which means I'm constantly cranky. I speak without thinking and I'm far too bossy. I have an annoying tendency to dogmatically believe my way is the right and only way. I also tend to argue without all of the facts. But the worst fault of all--I have allowed the love of my life to feel taken for granted, unappreciated and unwanted.

I don't believe in soul mates, neither do I believe that one person completes another. However, I do know that a future without this man in it would be dull and gray and lifeless. And that is no future that I want.

Just hanging on

Gramps used to have a saying: "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!" Right now I feel like that's all I'm doing--hanging on and the knot is starting to slip.

While this wasn't the worst weekend I've ever had--a weekend early December 2003 takes that title--it was certainly the worst Mother's Day I've ever had. And that includes all of the ones where I refused to get out of bed because my infertile, incapable of reproducing self simply couldn't face a world full of happy moms.

I won't go into details because I refuse to air my own dirty laundry in public. I will say that it was a whole combination of stuff--taking on too much with the bathroom, no sleep on anyone's part, both Husband and I being sick and the weather remains crappy so Jacob can't go outside and a whole lot of things--some piddly, some not--that have been ignored and left unresolved. And basically spending the day feeling like an inconvenient obligation--with a whole lot of self pity thrown in!

Also, over the weekend, the city where my parents live has come under rebel attack. May or may not have been an attempted coup. Third world politics drawn along the lines of ancient hurts.

I have actually been able to stay in contact with them--internet is still up and running. This morning while we were talking on Skype I kept hearing fighter jets flying overhead. Lovely. The airport is also closed to all international flights. They were/are supposed to fly out Tuesday afternoon and arrive here Wednesday evening. As of right now it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

I know they're where they want/need to be and that they are protected in ways most people can't understand. And just like with my husband's job--if I wasted time worrying about them that's all I would ever do.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Will someone please remind me...

Why did we buy an 80-year-old house? We don't have a clue as to what we're doing. Though, as Husband pointed out earlier today, "winging" it has gotten us this far...so why change our tactics now. However, I'm sure that if we were instead following the "knowing what we're doing" school, things would go so much smoother!

I do believe we're at a turning point. Shiny new copper pipes are in. New valve for the faucet is in. Old drain pipe is out. We have about a four foot square patch of old wall slats to remove--once we replace the saw blade that broke on the lower part of the wall. Then I think we might actually get to set the tub in this weekend...or whenever we have a spare moment since Husband went back to work tonight. I don't think the police force grants emergency time off in order to complete home repair in time for the in-laws eminent arrival.

I thought I'd throw in some pictures for everyone's amusement.

It's a good day when you get to play with a propane torch!

Just in case you were concerned and wondering how Husband's foot was doing...still looks painful!

Of course, if we take pictures of Daddy's feet we must take pictures of Jacob's feet.

My sweet little boy has actually been taking naps the past several days! We've been able to get a lot done in those few hours. This was him coming down the stairs this afternoon--all sweaty with his rock star hair! People spend a fortune trying to get their hair to do this.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

updates and what-nots...

For those curious onlookers (because I admit our home improvement project is much like a train wreck...it is tragic and horrific, but you just can't help yourself--you have to look!) there's really nothing new to report today.

Most of today's work had to do with laying down a new base for the tub and then replacing old plumbing. I'm most grateful to have a friend who is currently renovating his entire 1920's house (now, there's a train wreck--sorry, but you know it's true!) and he has been most generous with advice and loaning us tools. I think the results are going to be much better for it.

Husband is planning on finishing up the water pipes tonight so--hopefully--we can actually set the tub tomorrow. I have promised my parents that there will be a working bathroom downstairs by the time they get here--in 6 days!! Yea...no pressure. I didn't say it was going to be finished--just working.

For now, however, I have a date with a bed and a pillow.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Demolition, Part deux

If nothing else, the bathroom project (and by "project" I mean "boil on my butt") is lending itself to amusing blog posts and tons of support from well wishers/sympathizers from around the world. So, thank you all for your support. Enjoy the pictures.

The first three are more of a Public Service Announcement. This is what happens when radiator meets running shoe...and subsequently, foot.



And then he switched to tactical boots. A much better choice...and dare I say, sexier?


So, this is where we were around 1ish this afternoon...radiator pulled--and it was not empty as we had been led to believe and the knob to empty it pulled off in Husband's hand. You know, we're replacing the floor anyway so most of it drained out and down onto the ground underneath.


Cast iron tub, meet Sledge Hammer. Sledge Hammer, meet Cast Iron tub. They got along smashingly...hee, hee...get it? Smashingly?



We were thrilled to discover that there really was a sub-floor. One of the footings of the tub had sunk into the plank--maybe that's why it was never level?

The tub is out! And, OMG, what a mess! 80 years of crap!


And this is the bathroom tonight--old squirrel nest and crickets cleared out. The crickets were a tad cranky about being evicted. Whatever--hit the road hopper boys!


This is where the radiator was--and this is also part of the floor we have to replace.

And a picture for those who doubted me--that is the ground down there! Yes--critters had an open door into our bathroom. Not anymore! Well, for the next couple of days it's still open. But after that--the no entry signs go up!

Here's hoping that tomorrow night's post might actually show some construction going on!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cry Havoc!

Apparently we were sitting around yesterday with nothing to do.

Husband: "Let's load up the kids and go to Home Depot and pick out our new tub!"
Me: "Yea!"
Jacob proclaiming to everyone within hearing distance and some in the next county: "We're getting a new bathtub!"

"Why do you need a new bathtub?" you might be asking yourself.

I have provided the pictures below in an attempt to answer that question. This house was built in 1939. I believe the tub is the original tub.

Trailer park tub surrounds were added at some point--but they neglected to apply an adequate seal. Given the naval battles that Jacob wages at bath time, mold and mildew have taken up permanent residence.

Also, apparently some feel that wood and water can be quite good friends. The sub-floor has to be replaced due to this misguided belief.


This is actually what prompted the restoration to begin with. Our upstair's bathroom is leaking onto the downstair's ceiling. Naively thinking the downstairs would be the easiest of the two--that's where we decided to begin. We would like at least one working bathroom. Silly, I know.


So, this brings us to today. Demolition in full swing. Panels off.



Not everything co-operates. The faucet had to be drilled out. Should have offered clues as to what was lying in wait for us!



The 1930's cast iron tub stubbornly refuses to budge. This is what my bathroom currently looks like. Brand new tub and walls sitting out in the back yard. Shiny new faucets waiting to be installed. And the tub won't move. Not only that, there's no floor underneath of it. A cast iron tub with nothing underneath except a partial floor for the corners to rest on. Now I know what the Three Stooges did on their days off!


So, my friends--when you think of me, think of me languishing away in the hell of home improvement. Fortunately we have accepted our defeat for the day and cleaned things up just in time for me to run and pick Jacob up from his play date.

Edited to add...when Husband and I blog about the same thing--you know it's big! Of course, he failed to mention that I'm on antibiotics for a bladder infection. Amazing that we've managed to survive this long!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Not old...just older

All right, so I stole that from Bon Jovi (Crush Island Records 2000) but it's certainly how I'm feeling right now.

A former classmate of mine just set up a group on Facebook in an attempt to begin the incredibly arduous task of organizing our class's 20 year reunion. Now, doesn't that make me sound old?! But I really don't feel like I graduated from high school almost twenty years ago.

The entire RVA graduating class of 1989...can you find me?

Yep...I'm the one that looks positively giddy! Ignore the hair--it was the 80's.

I remember meeting a couple that summer and the man, upon finding out I had just graduated from high school, mentioned when he himself had graduated. To which I proclaimed--"Oh, that was the year I was born!" From the look on his face, that probably wasn't something I should have said out loud. (I'm still working on that--what gets said out loud and what is best that I keep to myself.) So now I find myself on the flip side of that situation--and even older than he was at the time! Thinking back on that now, it really doesn't make me feel old.

What did make me feel old was the day I received my college diploma--fourteen years after I started (I got a little distracted along the way). My sister pointed out that one of my classmates was a former student of hers--and not from her first year of teaching either. Yes, I felt a little ancient that day!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

To do on Monday

I just wrote a short "to do" list for tomorrow. Two things really.

1. Cancel my Netflix subscription.

Why? You might ask. It really is a good deal--$8.95 a month for unlimited movies. For some, yes, it truly saves money. However, I have to send back the one and only movie we ordered from Netflix that has now been sitting on our television for the past two months. Sooooo...we rented one movie for $18. Not exactly a savings, and I'm not even all that good with math.

2. Cancel a subscription for a magazine that I never ordered.

I received a bill yesterday for a magazine that I never asked for. I've actually had a run in with this particular magazine in the past. They attempted to charge me for a free sample. Fortunately for me, I understand the meaning of "free". That means I don't have to pay for it. So now they believe I've actually ordered an entire subscription. And I have to take time out of my day to call their non-toll free number and cancel this subscription. Simply a pain.

On a positive note...I actually got a nap this afternoon and Husband cooked dinner! Either one would be enough to make it a good day--combine them and I'm forced to admit that I am truly spoiled!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

They've been in my head again!

Oh my. Apparently the good people at this publishing house have been peeking into my dreams again...someone came up with this. Sigh.


I thought it was funny that in several places they felt the need to state that there's no nudity. Trust me...a mom with a newborn isn't fantasizing about naked men. Hot man doing my laundry and changing foul diapers--oh, baby! Nekid...not so much.

Enjoy!