Monday, June 28, 2010

Flooring Update

So, we're on Day 5 of floor installation. It took two days to do the living room, but the upstairs is taking longer, obviously. Here's what's done this evening, including the landing on the stairs, the upstairs hallway (minus the linen closets) the master bedroom (minus the master closet). 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Unplanned Staycation

So this morning at 4:30, I should have been in the shower trying to wake up before jumping in the blue car (our designated airport shuttle) and taking off on a 6:30 a.m. flight to St. Croix in the Virgin Islands to see my friend the Doctor.

The Doctor lives in St. Croix in a lovely house that she and her significant other have spent the last several years updating and making all kinds of awesome while she teaches at the University of the Virgin Islands.

Alas, I was not on that flight because the ugly storm that blew through pretty much the entire mainland of the United States and parts of Canada yesterday canceled my flight from Champaign to Chicago... which made making my morning connection impossible and all later flights were full. I even tried to see about getting a Lex bus at 2 a.m. to haul my butt up there in the crazy storms to make it. But no.

So I have miles and am rescheduling for the end of July (once they put the miles back in MacTroll's freaking account). But still, I was packed. I was ready. I wanted a beer and a float in the ocean, and I wanted to forget about the current state of me for a while. I was ready for vacation, and it feels like it got ripped out from under me.

Instead of pouting too much (I'll admit there were sobs of "It's not fair. Why does this always happen to me? Blah, blah, blah"), I pulled it together and decided to do two things I hadn't done yet this summer including, 1) Going blueberry picking at Pontious Farm in White Heath  and 2) Go shopping for rugs for our new wood floors in Ikea, which I was supposed to do until my house was plagued by a stomach bug.

It was too beautiful of a day to spend it inside... so I went blueberry picking today and came home with just shy of 5 lbs. Blueberry Burgers anyone?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Killing Trees

Flooring Surfaces started working on our living room floor this week. We're pretty much replacing all the carpet in our house (minus the basement and the guest room) with hardwood maple floors.

Here are some before shots... (Don't you like how you can tell where our bed was by the square section that is darker here? It's all cat fur... Maya is happy to model how pretty the fur looks actually on the cat versus in little tufts under our bed.)

The carpet in the living room had gotten so dirty it was brown rather than gray. And we all know how much I am not a fan of earth tones. (Of course, it didn't help that I walked in on Riley, who countersurfs, opening a container of Hershey's Cocoa in the middle of the floor and dumping it everywhere two weeks ago). I vacuumed what I could said, "Whatever, this carpet is outta here anyway."

Here's the work so far in the living room. We also got another 12" piece of slate tile added in front of the fire place. One row didn't make any sense to me (see photo of fireplace above) , but two... two just screams "nice." :-) We also got four more shelves made for each side of the fireplace. You'll see them appear when the painters are done with their part of the work in a couple weeks. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Week in My Bitter Pants

I spent this week being a punching bag for myself. They're not the kind of bruises I can show you. My whole aura right now is highly sensitive and tender. I've been over reacting to everything. I've been critical. I've been harsh. And when I do that long enough to myself, I start to do it to other people. Because, damn it, if I'm all wrong and ugly, shouldn't they be too? I mean really? Freaking perky, happy, effing people.

It is totally a week I can blame on girl hormones and sleep deprivation. Brain chemistry is a curious thing, often, unfortunately, a genetic trait, and recently, I've been looking into taking my education courses and seeing if I can map an educational career with children based on nutrition and fitness, combining my professional interest with my personal devotion. The best option, my most favorite, of course, is to become a Pediatric Dietician. I was always an above average student. I loved chemistry in high school and college. I was good at biology in college. But I never really was into science when I was younger. I mean, I liked animals. I liked nature. But the words Organic Chemistry and Food Science never really turned me on.

Now, they scare me. I'm not sure why. So I'm riddled with self-talk about how I'm not smart enough to complete such a degree before I've even started taking basic pre-requisites. I know I don't fail at everything. I'm actually a very good student. I want to learn -- to learn -- not to get a grade any more, and teachers can tell that about me and appreciate it. I'm smarter and more well-read and aware of the world than the average bear. I'm smarter than a 5th grader. I get that. I KNOW it. But I don't FEEL it. And knowing something intellectually, and feeling valued, worthwhile and brilliant at your core are two completely different things... I'm putting an * here. Remember it.

Finding a program and having it fit to my lifestyle is currently an issue. I'd likely have to do an online program, and I'd have to do it full-time.

I also had to miss the parent/teacher conference about X-man regarding how we can best prepare him if we'd like to consider sending him to Next Generation Primary School. Since X-man was ill that day and finds his greatest comfort in me, I stayed home. I sent MacTroll with my list of observations and issues, and went over them with him, and he came back and told me how the conversation went. But at the same time, I really wanted to be there. I always like to hear things with my own ears.

The teachers sent home a list of things for X-man to work on regarding social/emotional growth. A lot of the issues he might lick by the start of kindergarten, but I'm not sure he'll master by the time they do observations in October... for the following school year. He's particularly intense, our son. And manipulative (my words, not the teachers :-). But we all agree, he has moments of learned helplessness that are a barrier in the classroom.* (Notice the Asterik? Where could he possibly have inherited this trait?)

Academically, though, he's doing pretty well. We have to work on counting to 50 this summer and the fine motor skills that come with writing. I think the more time he spends with the bigger kids in his 4-year classroom seeing what they can do the more driven he'll be to write. Right now he can write his own name -- when he wants to. And he actually does a good job -- when he wants to. When he doesn't want to, he just makes a bunch of mess after an X... kind of like the mess after the J when his father writes his name. He's also beginning to sight read, which has been a lot of fun. He's best at logos and road signs.

I haven't been able to exercise all of this week due to illness, too. I went out at 6 a.m. this morning trying to get back in the saddle, because I know it's going to be gross and hot today. I ran 4 miles, but wanted to do 5, but ended up walking the last one. It wasn't fast. It wasn't fun. But I got it done and burned 650 calories. I'm hoping since MacTroll is, strangely, home for two weeks in a row that it'll be easier next week when no one is sick.

Right now, I just want to be able to get through the day with a little more Loosey-like positivity. I'm hoping the dopamine from the workout will help with that. Because clearly trying to use food to feel good this week made me only feel worse about myself.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Case of the Mondays

Since everyone had a Facebook status of being grouchy this morning, I figured I'd vent my ugly on the blog. Around 9:30 p.m. last night I ended up with MacTroll's stomach bug. In addition, someone apparently left our bathroom door open, so Clawdio peed in our shower. And it was particularly cat urine smelling, but even the rankness of that couldn't get the vomiting to start. And I needed it to start because my belly was swollen to the point where I thought I was going to implode.

Five hours later, I was empty and crippled and exhausted. This morning, I woke up feeling much better in that I knew the vomiting was over. But I felt like someone had hit me with a truck. I had a headache from crying while vomiting. So I've been in bed napping on and off and hoping that X-man doesn't get it. So much for us vacating the house all day Saturday and not being around MacTroll so we wouldn't get it.

Now I have to also hope we didn't give it to our dinner guests last night who are moving tomorrow from Champaign to Lincoln, NE. (Dr. Dave and Ms. K, I swear if I had known I had it I would have canceled!)

Onto other information, every day for the last -- who am I kidding -- for forever we've been getting afternoon thunderstorms. It's not like I live at the Grand Canyon and can enjoy some awesome desert light show. Instead, it just bums us out. We got sent home early from the pool on Saturday, which made X-man really upset. As much as he loves playing and replaying Trouble in our living room, he looked outside and said, "Mom, I want it to be summer." (He means sunny, but I totally get where he's coming from.)

Tomorrow, MacTroll gets his father's day gift early -- We're taking his car in to get detailed. He's so excited about it. On Thursday, MacTroll has a meeting near Schaumburg, so if things go okay, he's going to drop X-man and I off at the Lego Discovery Center, go to his meeting and then meet up with us afterwards to take a trip to Ikea to look at rugs. I guess that means, I need to measure where all of our new wood floors will be installed. The wood is supposed to get delivered this week. Installation should start on the 22nd.

This weekend my Dad is coming down for a visit, which will be nice. X-man hasn't seen him since Easter.

But the big news is that a week from Thursday, I'll be on a plane, by myself, headed to St. Croix in the USVI to see my friend Dr. Robin for four days. She's so going to drink me under the table. :-)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Yuck, yuck, yuck

MacTroll got home last night at 5:30. His belly was all distended, so he went upstairs to put comfy clothes on. Then he cam downstairs. While X-man and I ate food he just kept drinking ginger ale. Then at 9 p.m. when I took X-man up to bed, MacTroll started vomiting. He did it two hours after that, and two hours after that.

I feel terrible (because I hate vomiting) for him. But I'm also scared to death X-man or I will get whatever stomach bug it is. So now after missing MacTroll while he was in California this week, we have to stay away from him even longer.

Friday, June 11, 2010


I had a crap day on Thursday. Nothing went right. It was a lot of drama. Today was much better, and I'm so looking forward to the weekend even though the weather is supposed to be crappy.

If it's not storming tomorrow, I'm driving to Kennekuk Cove Park to do a 7.1-mile trail run around Lake Mingo. If it is storming... I'm heading to the track.

X-man has a birthday party at 1 p.m. and at 2 p.m. I'm taking Riley to the ASPCA to be part of a study. I'm excited to see how he does as a problem-solver dog... especially when I'm not in the room. Since he's learned how to open all the kitchen cabinets and drawers in our house, I'm rather proud of my sneaky, old dog.

Then on Sunday, I'm headed to D-town to have lunch with my friend Capt. Patrick.

Today's excitement was the random storm that kicked up as I was cleaning up X-man's inflatable pool. The wind gusts kicked in just as it was emptied... and I had to use all of my body to get the thing (which is like a huge plastic kite when empty and in 40 mph gusts) into the garage.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fred Flintstone, where can I get your car?

I picked up X-man in the bike trailer yesterday. Yes, he's really too big for it. So today, I broke down and ordered him a Schwinn bike component that attaches to mine. (I was too cheap to purchase the Trail-a-bike. I figured I have a Schwinn from Target, it'll do fine until he's big enough to keep up on his own bike.)

Anyway, on our way to the Savoy Rec Center's Wild and Wacky Wednesday (which is strangely only one Wednesday a month rather than every Wednesday), we passed a Twike.

The two people in it were pedaling and they had their hands up like they were in a roller coaster having a blast. They were followed by two other cyclists. I smiled at them and the dude yelled, "You need to get one of these!"

I laughed because I had been investigating something a little less modern (i.e. without any kind of electric engine). I'd been wondering about those multi-person bike cars that you see when you're on vacation. We used to see them all the time from the bike rental place in Rondeau when I was a kid.

And I thought, I could just throw my kid in and take it up to Schnuck's or the back roads to Meijer. No gas, lots of exercise... and X-man and MacTroll could get in on it, too. But I don't think I'd ever have the guts to take it up Prospect or Mattis or any other busy street... because let's face it, getting crashed into would not be fun, and we don't have double wide bike trails.

Plus, wouldn't you pay money to see me dropping off MacTroll at the airport in it rather than his blue sports car? He'd be all red-faced and embarrassed like some teenage son getting dropped off in the family minivan at the mall in front of his peeps.

If only they didn't cost thousands of dollars...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Sense of Belonging

I've been noticing lately that X-man has inherited a lot of my social skills. He plays with everyone. He wants everyone to like him. He identifies a handful of people that he really thinks of as good people to play with. Sometimes he'll designate someone as a best friend one day and then freak out about how that little friend doesn't seem to like him at all the next. Social anxiety has taken ahold of my four year old, and, of course, he perceives everything from his point of view. That is, X-man believes himself to be good and just and a good friend and when something goes wrong, it is, of course, everyone else's fault. 

I know this is an issue some people carry with them into their forties, which, as disconcerting as that is, is something I don't think will evolve with him. But what I worry about is the hunt for a soulmate. The one friend, the best friend, who you know you can turn to over your entire relationship and he or she will be there arms open. Someone who gives as much to the relationship as you do, and is able to reap as many benefits from your shared time together. 

He appears to be on a hunt for someone like that. He brings up that other children have siblings from time to time and he feels like they always have a playmate. I think he sees enough playmates and friends throughout the week, but he doesn't seem to like to play alone any more -- not even for a moment. And he used to not care at all. 

The hard part is that last week he hugged me and said, "Mommy, you're my best friend." I had to tell him that I loved him, too, but that I wasn't his best friend. I was his Mommy, and that I was going to make some decisions that he would find wildly unpopular from time to time that would confirm that I was not a friend. He looked at me quizzically and then said, "Daddy, is your best friend. I need to find a Daddy friend." 

"Sounds good."

Friday, June 4, 2010

Review of Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore

While we were on vacation MacTroll and I decided that while our niece and nephews were in school and MacTroll's brother and SIL were working we'd take X-man to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. He's been "Under-the-Sea" crazy for a while now, but we decided against the National Aquarium (one of our favorite aquariums) because adult tickets are $30 each and children are $25. Instead, we went to the Port Discovery Children's Museum just down the street. We figured there'd be more for X-man to climb and play on, and we could each get in there for $13... which meant we could have lunch at the Cheesecake Factory afterwards (See where our priorities are?). If you have a reciprocal membership through your local children's museum, Port Discovery qualifies as an Association of Children's Museums Member (which makes it free for you).

Anyway, as far as Children's Museum's go Port Discovery was a nice change. We caught the end of their Curious George exhibit, got to see a new remodeled pretend play "Diner" area and X-man thought their mini soccer field (similar to the mini hockey rink at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto) was pretty fun.

They had similar exhibits to other museums like a car you can gas up and pretend to put air in the tires. There was a play grocery store, and, of course, the obligatory climber and a Water Room. The thing I liked about this water room was that rather than the little smocks, they had actual children's raincoats. And since the water was a floor to ceiling kind of experience, they had Crocs available for kids to wear... which is nice, but even though the sign said they're cleaned all the time, I still got the willies from the idea (and I'm NOT a germaphobe).

The museum had a little kid/nursing mothers area, but there are no food sales inside the museum. No food or drink is allowed except for the small room with tables that school groups use for brown bag lunches when they're there. But the lovely part about the inner harbor is that food is plentiful just outside the door.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

House renovations

When MacTroll and I built our house there were  few things we wanted to do that we couldn't afford at the time, so we put them in a holding pattern. One was a backsplash in the kitchen. The other was having more wood floors than carpet (life with a child, pets and a spouse who cannot learn to take off his shoes).

Then we found out we needed to tile around our bathtub because if X-man bathes in it... water is EVERYWHERE. So, over the next few weeks we'll be doing updates here and there to accomplish theses tasks. I'll put up some before and after photos when we're all done.

But you know what I should be doing? Getting the last of the pile of mulch that's been in our drive for a month off of it and onto the gardens... oh wait, they need to be weeded first. Sigh. Love summer. Just when I get the outside kicked into shape, I go inside and all hell has broken loose in there!

And then it's time to go back to school...

Speaking of, X-man moves to the 4 year old room on Monday. He's visiting all day today in All Stars II. He says he's excited to be in a building with no babies only big kids. He also starts swimming from 3:30-4:15 every day next Monday.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Usually I write that X-man is having troubling bad dreams. Instead, it's me. Very seldom do I get enough sleep that I actually get to dream. But the last few days I've been having these total stress dreams between 4 and 6:30 a.m.

Dreams where I'm making dinner and it is for some reason buried in dirt and rotting and I'm gagging as I dig it out.

Dreams where I'm still advising the student newspaper and I open it up to find that 4 of the 16 pages don't have material on them and the students think that this is okay -- "Because they were only supposed to be ads in those spaces."

Dreams where I can't find my child.

Dreams where my house is burning down and I can't find one of my cats.

Do you see? And what do I have to show for it? Apparently a lot of water retention and emotional eating according to today's weigh in.

I've been grouchy all day. And if that's how I'm starting the day, with having the shit scared out of me, I guess being grouchy makes sense, right?