Thursday, August 30, 2007

Oh, Burke. I am really missing you tonight.

I got a lovely new issue of one of my favorite Mama Magazine subscriptions in the mail. A wonderful gift from B much earlier this year. I usually find the beautiful pics of mamas and their babies so affirming, the articles so gentle and soothing. They leave me with such a wonderful sense that this world is not a horrible place, that there is still some good and normalcy out there. I can escape from my own personal horrors and longing and live vicariously through other people's happy times for a while... well today I am reduced to tears. My empty arms ache.

My little prince.

From another mom:
"If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chili Cookoff!!!

Okey doke, folks... I began talking at the Dinner tonight about the Chili Cookoff. Yep, the time is coming up, fast and furious... it will be the SECOND Saturday of October this year (A wedding on the first Saturday the 6th, ladies and gents. And we know so many of you are already attending!) which makes it (fumble with calendar)... SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13TH!!! Save that date, folks. And rest up. This is a two party weekend month. We will probably be making T-shirts again, but I'm not going to guarantee that. With the amount of work to do around here, there's a chance we will forgo them.

The good news from tonight: B took the opportunity of a spouse-free evening to install the new dishwasher! Yay! It's so beautiful; check it out:
Okay, I guess it's hard to see behind the tags and stuff, but it's stainless like the fridge with no exposed buttons. Really sweet. Stainless interior with nylon coated baskets that don't chip like plastic coated ones. And it was a STEAL!!! Over 30% off!!!!!
Here's the view from the basement stairs looking into the kitchen. Notice the exposed sink plumbing B completed this weekend. And next is the shot of the new sink and faucet B installed to go with the new plumbing! What a guy! So, we once again have water running on the main floor.
Sorry about the mess around it. At least it's in... It's a granite composite sink, dark gray/black to match the counters.

So, this weekend is another marathon of work. I'm pretty sure the plan is to start painting the exterior of the house. And there's a big sale at work (20% off everything, folks, for those that know where I work) and I am making my first attempt to work a Saturday since Burke's birth. Anyhow, there you have it. The budget on all this work is beginning to weigh a little heavy on me, since I'm the designated bill-payer. Oh, well. We'll catch up soon enough with it. It's not like we have bar tabs to pay or fancy therapists to spend it on. This has become our therapy. In my humble opinion all of this work we're doing together has really brought us close. Even with our family. There's nothing better than sharing this with them, knowing they were a part of it all. We will have those memories with us whenever we look at the surroundings we've created.

More to come at a not-so-later date.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Damage Toll for the weekend of 8_17

Brian here again.
So here it is:
1. Fewer walls still stand on the first floor.
2. Most cabinetry in kitchen....well, lets just say they went to the gods in a Jedi kinda way.
3. Oven, stove, and kitchen sink, dishwasher removed. Leaving us with a microwave , toaster oven, and fridge. We almost have to eat out on a daily basis (damn).
4. More concrete has been poured in the kitchen rounding off all the counter tops in the kitchen. Can't wait for the weeks of sanding and finishing that stand ahead.

So here are the pictures......

Mixin' in the heat......

Forms for counters.

Pouring and reinforcing.

My Dad "supervising," Mom and G finishing the concrete.

After the pour. Ready to take forms off and in a few days sand, sand, sand !!

My Dad showing the dogs how to "supervise".

New smaller wall in foyer minus closet.

How much trash can we produce in a weekend?

Please Note: B is actually doing the blogging today.

I can't get the Sanford and Son theme song out of my head !!!! Having a sink, stove, and oven installed in the kitchen is really over rated. The shopping cart really makes the shot.

If anyone needs bags of bricks or plaster bits please let us know. Supplies are limited and are moving fast.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

What a difference a day makes...

Before... from dining room looking into the kitchen.

During (from kitchen into hallway)...
From the kitchen looking down the basement stairs.
From living room looking towards kitchen and basement stairs.
From hallway looking into the kitchen, minus hall closet and some walls. Notice the new header holding up what the wall used to!

After... same spot as the first...

I can't tell you and pictures can't describe how different it looks. You'll have to see it for yourselves. There is so much more space, so much more room to breathe. Especially now since the dust has cleared. The form for the counters are also ready to go for today, and we bought some drywall to redo the entryway hallway. I'll post with more photos soon...

Friday, August 17, 2007

We found a new stove!

I guess the term "new" is relative since it's a 1954 Tappan Deluxe. We spent less on it than we would have on a brand new stove and this one has a thousand times the style. I love it! I hung pictures above our current chipped up almond 1970s Magic Chef range, inserted in the rust-colored tile. Oh, how I will not miss ye. The stove is in GREAT shape, but lives in Cleveland. So, looks like there's a road trip in our near future up 71. IT is almost as cool as the stove I saw years ago with a periscope on the back rise that you could peer in to see what's cookin' in the oven without opening the door! I guess that was a niftier solution than installing a glass window. And that one had red knobs.

There's a chance this style has the glow-dials, though I'm not sure. It has a single oven and broiler, with storage in the sides. The back of it contains a clock, dial-glo timer, and a dial-a-meal which tells you how long to cook stuff like roasts, etc. Not much use for us since we're mostly vegetarian, but hey, the novelty of it is to die for.
It also comes with one of the two original burner covers. When you flip it over, it's a serving tray, complete with the lil' Tappan Chef logo.
And, when not in use, it conveniently hangs inside the storage compartments. How great is that?
It also comes with the original cookbook and manual. From 1954. I wonder how creepy the recipes will be: Spam Salad? Creamed Cabbage? Bacon Brisket? What treasured horrors can it contain? I'm really excited. I can't wait to get it installed. It'll be so perfect in our home. And I promise I'll never make Spam Salad. Ever.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The finished wall

That's not a wall! Yeah, I know... the photos loaded in reverse order and I don't have much time to correct my mistake.
Barstools! I love them. They look like library chairs to me, just taller and with shorter backs. Man, the floors really look like they need to be refinished. Sigh. We'll wait until we're done, then cross that bridge later on in the fall.
And here's the wall with completed arch and paint on it. We'll probably replace all the crown molding. Later.

Now it's time to gear up for the weekend. The inlaws are coming down a day early (tonight!) and work begins first thing tomorrow morning. The plumbing for the sink needs to get moved before we tear out the old one and rip off the old tile counters. I have to get the stuff in the lower cabinets packed up . Saturday will probably be the pour day, Sunday the destruction of the last wall... we will figure out the exact schedule once the folks get here and B and Pop take a look at what needs to get done.

Yep. Its going to be a Motrin weekend with a side of Icy-Hot. I'm glad my good friend M is planning a bit of a fiesta complete with a round of Lava Flows while we look thru her pics from her Hawaii vacation! Mmmm... Vacation...*drool...*

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The fortune

The best fortune cookie fortune Brian's ever received:

"You are inclined to come up with unconventional solutions."

Yep, in a nutshell, that's him.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

So why oh why is it that when batteries go, they all go? The batteries in the digital camera pooped out. And at the same time the battery in the cordless mouse dies. And since I need power to both machines at the same time, I can't "borrow" one. I was in Target today, but forgot to buy new ones. And tonight, as I was leaving to buy caulk and a new sanding sponge at the Home Despot, I told myself "batteries. batteries. batteries. batteries. batteries. batteries." So I got in the car after checking out, confidently drove home, pulled in, and realized I forgot the batteries. CRAP! And to rub salt in the wound, the battery on the smoke detector began beeping as I walked in. JEEZ! I think it might be from all the dust I've kicked up, though, or at least that's what I'm sticking with today.

So here I go scrounging batteries from anything. Come to find out, all remotes in our house BUT ONE are AAA, not AA. I did not know this until today.

So, I score a couple semi-fresh batteries, ready to take a couple of shots, and there isn't even enough juice to turn the thing on.

Sigh, I guess this is just a sign for me to get back to caulking the trim in the mudroom instead of posting some pretty photos of these new hats I've got going on... they are made with cotton-candy looking yarn. They look like little white, pale blue and pink Sno Caps. Mmmm. candy. Well, I guess I'll go back upstairs and get some more done, now that I've wasted forty five minutes on this fruitless endeavor. Better luck tomorrow. batteries. batteries. batteries. batteries. batteries....

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Sixteen weeks.

Four months ago on this day, I went into labor. It was a Wednesday. It was about one in the afternoon, and I was chatting with C. and A. on the phone, whining about how big I was, how uncomfortable and impatient I was. At the end of the conversation, A. jokingly told me “Don’t worry: in six hours you’ll be in labor!” We both laughed, and I got off the phone and took our dog Miles for yet another walk around the neighborhood, hoping the exercise and movement would get something started.

I got home and Brian called, telling me he was heading home early. Great! I thought. Someone to distract me from all this waiting! About an hour after he got home, my water broke. Yes!!! Our child would be born on the forth or fifth of April! A birthday! It was a true Birth Day!! We giggled excitedly, and I tried to lie down and rest and Brian began gathering our stuff together, rounding up the newborn outfit we had picked out, the cloth diapers, and all the other incidentals needed to care for ourselves and the new one. Would it be a boy or a girl? How big? Oh, in a day at the very most, we thought, we’d be back home, nestled all together in our new king-size bed, bought with the knowledge that three of us would have no chance of sleeping well together in our old full-size bed. Visions of watching the new one sleep while we fitfully napped . seemed so close.

My good friend C. came over and brought us some cornbread and other stuff; I can’t remember anymore. I just remember not being able to eat much of anything without getting nauseous. We laughed and worked through contractions together, while Brian fumbled nervously with installing the carseat in the Subaru. D. and the girls stopped by to visit before our doula came over. I remember hugging little C. and little T. tightly before they left, remembering with vivid clarity when each of them was born.

I wished I had gotten my sling made, with the fabric I had picked out at St. Theresa’s that week, but figured I’d have a few hours on one of the first days home from the hospital to get it constructed while my mother-in-law watched over the baby. I knew as soon as we called they’d be down; it would be Easter on Sunday, and her school would be on break. And they were so excited to meet the Grandbaby. It felt perfect. I felt him wiggle and shift with each contraction, getting ready to come into this world.

Yes, he would have a gentle beginning. I felt so sure of it. I visioned laboring in the tub in the birthing suite, Brian holding me up and supporting me. I saw him crown, saw him slip into my waiting arms and Brian and I would cry with relief, so happy to meet this little person we had already spent so much time caring for. It would be quiet, intimate, and peaceful.

Yet here we are, four agonizingly long months later, with our empty arms. Empty bed. Empty crib. Unread books and unused clothes, and sheets over all the furniture in Burke’s room.

It's hard. Every anniversary will be fraught with the "what ifs" and "if onlys" of a life lost. It's just difficult to remember to keep on living, breathing, to stay positive in the face of so much grief. Somehow we have to find hope again.

"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight." -Kahlil Gibran

Friday, August 3, 2007

The mailer...

So I'm about to send off this first batch of hats and stuff to Touching Little Lives. Before I do, here's some photos from the fun and mayhem! Thank you to Contessa for the BEAUTIFUL isolette/kangaroo quilt (featured as the background), Sarah, Mallory, Lauren and Amanda for all your knotty knits!!!

First is a couple of shots of the table-o-yarn... Thanks to Mrs. Mediodia for her generous donation of wool, silk, acrylic, mohair, and glorious blends of all kinds!!

...and from that mountain was made this stack of beautiful hats... The white layette was also
donated by Amanda. I've got a lovely box lined with tissue paper to wrap it up in.

Here are a couple of close ups of the pretty things... I love the blue and pink lacy caps, and the blue-green fringe band!
I made the hearts and polka dot hats. It's a new fixation. I am trying to get better at knitting with two yarns, and am feeling loads more confident in my skills. I started making some with initials on them, you know, just one letter. I think it would make them personal. So far I'm up to J, but am about ready to go back to some other projects, including the woodland hats I started (gnome, fawn, hedgehog, acorn). I'll share more later.

So here it is: Friday night. Time to rally, get some dinner made, some more drywall sanded and ready for final mudding, and to try and find some peace. It's been a weary week.
Sigh. Before I get back to it, I think I'll go ahead and carefully pack the box. Love went into each stitch. May they find and give comfort to those that need it most.

My love to all who read this,