Thursday, March 28, 2013

Use what you have

Andrew was holding the naked baby, having just gotten her ready for a bath. While I drew the bath, I noticed that this time, Andrew neglected to put a prefold diaper between her and his arm, the way he usually does in this situation. I turned my attention back to the tub and then heard Andrew yelling from the bathroom doorway. “Get me a diaper! Get me a diaper!” he cried out. But it took me too long and Andrew, already streaked with wet down his leg, saw the puddle on the floor approaching the kitchen baseboard. Because our house is so slanty, the baseboard does not actually meet the floor in a few places; for example, the place towards which the puddle was heading. So Andrew mopped it up with the only thing he had. His sock. Which he was wearing. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Wish I'd written it

Looking for a post I started writing a while back, I cam across this in my "to write" folder:

"Write about Curious George play and scooting to church and back and being chased by crocodiles and chasing the bunnies and scooting/walking around the park and showing daddy the bird berries and playing chase and nora swinging and what an awesome weekend"

It was created March 7, 2010. I don't even remember what "bird berries" are now.

Monday, March 4, 2013

So I am not losing my mind after all

Oh ho HO! My mother-in-law called me today, and guess what she found "stuck between the bed and the wall, it must have fallen down there, I don't know how"? That's RIGHT. My library book. And now she and her husband are jetting off to Costa Rica and I can't get my hands on it for two more weeks. ISN'T THAT CONVENIENT.

I kid. I kid because I love. She reads this blog, so in my last post I was teasing her with all my accusations of book theft and lies. But this does not change the fact that I secretly, deep down in my heart, thought the book was at her house, despite her insistence that they had looked everywhere. "Sure you did," I thought to myself. "Everywhere except where the book is."

WELL. She read my blog this morning and felt like she had to do a deep search for my library book, and there it was stuck next to the bed. And the good news is that the librarian took pity on me when I went in to pay for it, and let me renew it, so I have three weeks before they send the library police after me. Just enough time for my mother-in-law to take it to Costa Rica and read it herself.*

And now I will show you some of my child's art. I'm sorry. Except not really. What follows is a picture of what Jack likes to eat.

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Lest you think my children have sophisticated palates, note that the top left is a picture of mac 'n' cheese, and that's a hot dog up there on the right. But I think my favorite parts is the smile on the fish. Which, incidentally, I have never served whole.

 *She's not really taking it. She's going to drop it off at my brother-in-law's, and I can probably get it this coming weekend.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

7 Quick Takes

  1. It was finally my turn for Wild by Cheryl Strayed from the library, and I read it all week at my in-laws' while my floors were being refinished. I was thoroughly enjoying it. I am not enjoying it any longer because it has disappeared. I haven't seen it since the in-laws'. I have checked and rechecked all the bags we had with us, and I looked all over the car as well. My mother-in-law swears it's not at her house, but I don't know. I think she's holding out on me. Doesn't want to get on her own library's waiting list. But wherever it is now, it's supposed to be back at the library tomorrow, so I have to go down there and pay for it instead of racking up the late fees. I think they refund the money if you find it after the fact, so let's all hope that the act of paying for it will make it magically reappear in my mother-in-law's house.
  2. For this story, you will need to know that my sister has a nine-year-old son, a seven-year-old daughter, and a two-year-old son. I was talking to my sister last week, and her daughter was home sick from school. Around 1:30 or so, she started saying she needed to go, because she had to get in the car so the two-year-old could get a reasonable nap in on the way to school pick-up. The interesting thing here, though, is that her husband was picking up the nine-year-old that day to take him to ski club. Let me ask you this: At what point would YOU have realized you were loading your sick daughter into the car to go pick the very same daughter up from school? Me, I think I might have gotten as far as pulling out of the driveway. My sister figured it out while on the phone with me, though.
  3. I just had to pay a whole bunch of bills and it was really depressing. Don't let people tell you that painting is cheap, folks. Gah.
  4. Easter is going to be at my house this year, because we have all this SPACE. I'm looking forward to it.
  5. The skunk is gone. The skunk guy set the trap on Thursday; there was a skunk inside it by Friday morning. The poor skunk is gone now, so we just have to watch for signs of other skunks. Well, and also take down the shed and pour some concrete or something, but that's not for a while. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that our skunk was a hermit.
  6. I gave Andrew a haircut tonight. We bought a Wahl clipper to save on haircuts for him and Jack, and it has paid for itself many times over. But Andrew has also paid, because I am really not good at giving haircuts. He actually cuts Jack's hair so only one person has to suffer my poor skills, and Jack's hair always comes out fine. But poor Andrew. One time, I gave him an actual bald spot behind his ear, but he remained patient and forgave me. I've gotten better, so now when I cut it he ends up with merely a mediocre haircut instead of a "What happened to YOU?" haircut, so that's something. But can you imagine how it would have gone down if Andrew had put a bald spot in MY hair? Not well. It would not have gone down well. 
  7. I am out of takes.

Photo Saturday

Hey, my kids are pretty cute.

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Ready for the Family Valentine Dance

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This is from Christmas, but I just discovered it and I love it.

Friday, March 1, 2013


Let’s start this post with a brief recap: I have had suspicions that a skunk was living under our shed for about four years. I chose to deal with this problem with denial. But then I saw the skunk, and, forced to confront the situation, spent my time fretting, Googling, and calling exterminators. My regular exterminator wanted $495 to get rid of the skunk for a guaranteed six months. A competitor wanted $200 to get rid of this skunk, but $200 “and up” - depending upon the extent of the work and materials needed - to ensure that another skunk couldn’t come set up housekeeping under the shed. It was the “and up” part that concerned me there. Especially because our shed is basically built on top of a sand pit where a hot tub was kept once upon a time, so it’s really easy for skunks to burrow under it. Yes, we know NOW that we shouldn’t have put it over the sand pit, but where were you seven years ago, hmmm?

So instead of paying someone, we chose to toss some mothballs under there and cross our fingers. And it seemed to work! We stopped smelling skunk! Until last week! We just barely had time to start denying it when it snowed, and I found this in the driveway:

Skunk tracks photo skunk3-02252013018_zpsc592d5ec.jpg
If you Google images of skunk tracks, you see… basically this.

And THIS: Tons of skunk tracks photo skunk2-02252013019_zps093ed524.jpg
How many ARE there?

At this point, I became convinced that we had not just one skunk, but an entire extended family of skunks, that probably grew fat on the tulip bulbs that I planted last fall. I mention that awkwardly here only because I already missed my chance of using the eaten tulip bulbs to foreshadow the skunk discovery, but I still wanted to complain about it because I’ve wanted to plant bulbs for years and this was the first year I ever remembered before the ground froze, and even still I ended up doing it at the last possible second on the last possible fall Saturday during the last possible moments of daylight. I suppose I have no PROOF that that it was the skunk and not a squirrel or cat or something else that ate my bulbs, but I choose to blame the skunk.

I followed the tracks back to the shed and I think I may have determined the point of entry:

The front door photo skunk1-02252013022_zpsb0e48801.jpg

That’s where I put all the flour down last summer but never saw any tracks. There are actually plenty of ways to get under the shed though, because of the whole “built on a sand pit” thing. So maybe this entrance is the winter entrance.

AT ANY RATE. I started calling exterminators again. The prices were all over the place. Lots of places don’t do skunks, but of the places that do, I was quoted:

$155 for the first trap, $75 for every additional trap
$495 no matter how many skunks there are, guaranteed for six months (my regular guy)
$325 for eradication with a one year guarantee; $50-$100 additional for exclusion with a lifetime guarantee
$150 per trap; $150 “and up” additional for exclusion
$125 just to come out and inspect, price quote after inspection

Now that last one is for a humane removal company. When I expressed surprise at the charge just to inspect, he said “You’ll pretty much find that across the board.” Clearly, I did not. Maybe other humane removal companies would have charged for an inspection as well. There’s not much to inspect, really, when you’re just setting a trap.

To make a long story short (too late!) we hired the $155 guy. And I’m also going to find out what he charges for yearly ant spraying, because it turns out my regular guy has outrageous skunk removal prices, even if he does have a flat fee no matter the number of skunks. I now think (hope) there’s only one, because the guy said those tracks could be from one skunk going back and forth on the same path, and also it’s too early for kits as it’s not quite mating season yet. In a perfect world I’d lead the skunk peacefully to a nice warm den in a cozy forest by a meadow, but that is not in the cards for the skunk under our shed, I’m sad to say.

So the trap is set. The traps only go for $50 or so on Amazon, but let’s be honest, we’re not paying for the setting of the trap, we’re paying for the REMOVAL of the trap. THAT is the part I wanted to avoid. Last summer, the man at animal control told me that it is against the law to release a trapped skunk, that we’d have to kill it, and I remain flummoxed at the idea that anyone would TRY to release a trapped skunk. Do you load the trap into your car and drive it out to the woods? How? I know an animal in a trap can’t bite or scratch you because it can’t reach you, but I’m not worried about skunk BITES.

In other totally unrelated news, I am typing this out in our former bedroom, now our office, and it is absolutely delightful to have a room dedicated to office work. We are plugging away at getting the house set up and getting used to the two-floor living, but it’s pretty awesome. Our space literally doubled. We have a playroom now. A playroom! Right now, there are virtually no toys in the living room at all. And we got to move the changing table/dresser out of the kitchen and put it in there and now our kitchen is huge.