Old News: Past Blog Posts

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sawdust and Urine: Part 7


If you've been living on pins and needles in anticipation of my latest post, I'm so sorry to have kept you waiting so long. And for the rest of you (safely assuming this to be all readers), I just didn't want to interrupt hockey playoffs or baseball. Or, more realistically, my hands were too busy ushering small people into bathrooms and smacking my own forehead in response to mounting logistical issues related to these home renovations. 

Yes, we finally have a fully functioning bathroom. It happened 5 days later than they assured us it would be done and took almost 4 weeks longer than initially estimated and still isn't totally completed. Any expectations for sticking to future 'deadlines' have been completely abandoned on my part. My husband still somehow has faith that the whole project will be completed by the end of this month, but I am cut from a decidedly less optimistic cloth. If we have a functioning kitchen by July 4th, I'll eat somebody's hat. 

I am waiting until someone shows up to hang our mirror and fix some painting issues before I post pictures of the final product, but I can assure you, it's pretty awesome (get acquainted with those pins and needles people, it could be awhile). But I will happily post some pictures of the eyesore that is currently occupying the back of our house, sitting idle while we await the promise of an apparently highly elusive electrician:

(Bye bye door!)


As stagnant as our rehab project has been over the past couple weeks, we have actually hit the accelerator on the potty training front. A little over a week ago, our previous nanny's parting gift to us was the news that the boys had spent much of the day in underpants with limited disaster. We found ourselves facing a busy Saturday with a tough choice: pull ups or underpants? If I had even just one penny for every time some knowing parent (or non-parent 🙄) winked at me and told me my kids will never potty train until we toss the pull-ups, I'd be able to fund our renovation project. So (armed with this amazing new bit of advice!), we took a giant breath, packed the diaper bag to the brim with extra pants and piled underpant-clad bottoms into car seats lined with hand towels to start our day.

Soccer practice was first and started with a successful potty trip in some elementary school stalls. Big guy stayed dry the whole time, despite the fact that every time he wandered off the field to us mid-game (which was at least a half dozen times) I was eyeballing the crotch of his shorts and asking about the potty. Middle man had his first wardrobe change and left a puddle of piss on the playground equipment. 

Next was Target. Because Saturday. We paired off and hit the stalls again with similar success rates. SIDENOTE: I am happy to report that while in the Target restrooms, my son and I were somehow not accosted by any pre-op transsexual penises in the woman's room and my husband likewise did not report any vagina run-ins (whew, right?). Having narrowly escaped what I've been assured would be unavoidable disasterous side-effects of non-discriminatory bathroom policies, we then picked out new underpants and various other target necessities, among them were potty bribes including a small bag of tiny, wiggly neon snakes and a large bag of fruit snacks consumed by our tiny 2-year-old before we could get out of the parking lot--which was also where we had his second wardrobe change. 

From there, we joined all the 20-something hipsters in St Louis at a popular microbrew for a food truck event with friends. But, not before pants change #3 for the 2-year-old who obviously wanted us to be wowed by his ability to preform both on and off the potty. 

The rest of the day and Sunday were spent essentially at home, closer to potty seats and essentially naked except for Mickey, superhero, and Good Dinosaur underpants. We celebrated with high fives (which I realize is not a great choice straight off the pot), screen time, popcorn parties and ice cream bars consumed on the porch; where we displaying our new underpants to our super-impressed neighbors and any poor, unsuspecting, previously-innocent passers-by. 

When the workweek began, our 4-year-old bravely marched off to school each morning in underpants which miraculously returned unsoiled for lunchtime. Also, in the confusion of transitioning childcare, both boys often went down for naps without the protection of a pull-up. This was playing with some serious fire in the case of the 4-year-old, who currently naps in our bed. Amazingly, we made it through the week without having to wash a single sheet (which is great because we've made it to May and so why should I start washing sheets now? *wink*)

Yesterday, the hub-meistro had to go play band director in Columbia, leaving me to play mommy without backup. We braved a rainy morning by meeting friends for coffee (which used to be relaxing?), a little light shopping, and a birthday party in a somewhat puddly, but otherwise rain-free park. We made potty stops at each location, me negotiating hand washing and pants management with a one-year-old slung on my back by way of the Ergo/most-ingenious-invention-ever-in-the-whole-history-of-the-world. We had an early and very minor accident by the two-year-old, prompting a pants change, but otherwise we totally killed it. I figured scooting around on wet playground equipment would be the perfect time for my kids to let their bladders loose, but remarkably, both kept their pelvic floor muscles in check until we got home to the sweet sight of dueling potty chairs. 

Don't let me steer you wrong, this is not to say we haven't had some extra laundry this week; particularly, in relation to a persisting lack of control over bowel movements. On Tuesday, the big guy announced he was poopy (thankfully) before turning to settle into his car seat on our way to school. I christened the new nanny by emerging back in the house 5 minutes after leaving with a poopy pair of superman underpants. That same day, the middle guy emerged from school with a similar situation downstairs (this new nanny is a total saint, I'm telling you). Just this morning, we had to flee the playground for a double underpants swap when both kids ran past me emitting that familiar stink. 

Still, the sight of one of my kids springing up from whatever they're doing and chirping 'mommy, I need to potty' is enough to give me chills. Should I be sad to watch our monthly diaper expenses plummet? It's definitely a new chapter for us and happened the same week we tossed the baby's last bottle, so I'm trying to hold it together...nah, that's a lie, I'm so freaking excited. 

In the (highly sophisticated) words of my 4-year-old: UNDERPANTS!!!!


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sawdust and Urine: Part 6

I flipping love spring. When I was a kid, I was totally obsessive over warming weather. Endless calls to 'Time and Temperature' went out on our landline (#80sKid) tracking the onset of spring and leaving me downright giddy over the prospect of riding bikes and tree climbing and all that other wholesome goodness that kids used to enjoy before mobile screens entered the picture and corrupted us all.

So, when faced with the mounting levels of anxiety piling up over busted-cabinet budgets, six weeks in a house without a shower, and a mad-scramble to secure new childcare, I am trying to channel that uncorrupted joy of a little girl basking the sunlit breeze of her favorite season. 

It's also taken a fair amount of alcohol and binge-eating, but I think I'm coping okay. When I'm not composing delicately-worded, but essentially angry emails to our contractor, I have found some aspects of this renovation to be fully enjoyable. Turns out, picking out light fixtures and accent tile gives me a total rush. It's like all my HGTV dreams have come to fruition and made me the star of my own little renovation show (step aside Joanna Gaines...) Now, if we could just figure out how to mimic those 30 minute formats and impossible budget stretching (we updated and expanded the entire house for 25 grand!), I'd be in freaking heaven. 

Not everyone, however, shares my opinion here. Yesterday, after narrowly escaping Lowes with our sanity in tact and amazingly with all three boys still somehow accounted for, I pointed out how much pleasure I was deriving by piecing together a bathroom of our own design. 'Isn't this part fun?' My husband didn't skip a single beat before replying with a resounding 'No!' I guess he finds less amusement in weighing the the aesthetics of brushed nickel versus chrome while also periodically asking a small herd of tiny diapered people to please stop crawling between the boxes of kitchen sinks (can you blame them?)

Still, it's safe to say the novelty of operating a kitchen out of plastic bins, speed-showering at the gym, ambling down steps for a midnight pee, and taking the shit-show that is bathtime on the road (I think my BIL went sterile right before my very eyes while overhearing the desperate shrieks of a 2-year-old who's suddenly developed an inexplicable bath-phobia) has just about worn off. Our bathroom was projected to take 2-3 weeks and we are now officially entering week seven. For you non-math majors out there, that's more than double the projected time. I spend my time wafting between resignation and fury; it's a place familiar to anyone who's been brave enough to undertake a home renovation project and trust the execution of that project to someone else. 

When I came home this week to find someone had decided to spend the day doing kitchen demo instead of making forward progress on the bathroom, I lost it a little. I spent at least 3 hours scrubbing renovation dust from the uncovered kitchen bins and their vast contents as well as from the piles of toys left scattered about, almost as if to intentionally join in on the filth-fest, and petty much every surface of the main level of our home. I acknowledge it was an exercise in complete futility, but I needed a physical outlet for my massive frustration, and scrubbing dirt seemed to fit the bill. 

I am reminded frequently, by friends and family who've been through this before, that it is totally worth it. It's a massive headache of a process, but just keep the end-results in your sights and someday (though much further off than initially projected by your contractor),. it will be done.

I am, of course, lucky. Lucky to have a beautiful home to renovate; the resources to make it happen; healthy children to bathe (even if it's at someone else's house and at deafening volumes); and family and friends willing to listen to me bitch and moan about the process. 

And it's springtime. I was greeted by the strong, sweet fragrance of our lilac bushes as I returned home from my shower tonight and it was downright glorious. I go to bed tonight with a little less anxiety, knowing we've found a new nanny, and with the scent of springtime drifting in our windows. It's a pretty good life, even if it's somewhat dusty and without an operable shower. 

Urine update: You may not be surprised to hear everyone is still in diapers. However, the 4-year-old insisted on underpants this evening and kept them dry for over 3 hours with one pit stop (#small victories). Earlier this week, the 2-year-old peed on one of our child-sized potties, then abandoned it and his pants. I was frantically trying to cover his exposed man-parts when I noticed from across the room, the 1-year-old dumping the pee into the floor. 


Kitchen demo: bye bye cabinets!

Seeya wall!! (Beam has been installed, I just don't have a pic)

Tile AND grout!

Later dudes. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Sawdust and Urine: Part 5

In my entire adult life, I have never spoken the following words: man am I excited to get going on that laundry! Nor should anyone ever really say those words in that order (because that means you've sunk to a shocking level of mundanity)...but, tonight it happened. I arrived home from work to discover that our mild-mannered (but secretly he-man, super-human) construction worker had single-handedly hoisted our stackable dryer unit onto it's washer counterpart to essentially complete our laundry closet. I imagine some traded services will be necessary when they discover the herniated discs in his spine someday down the road, but until then...man, am I excited to get going on that laundry!  

Addendum: folding and putting away is still a son of a b*tch. 

Jusf look at that beauty! We're gonna be fast friends. Which is good, because nobody is potty trained yet, and there is certainly an infinite number of soiled pants looming in our future. 

Here's my favorite part...

That, dear readers, is a real-life, bona fide laundry chute. As a child, I have fond memories of misusing our family's laundry chute and at least one vague recollection of the startled shriek of a feline plummeting two stories into a pile of dirty laundry. My only hope is that we can find a door to secure to the top of the chute that is at least slightly smaller than our youngest child. 


Meanwhile, upstairs....

...The bathroom project limps along into its fifth week. And let me just say, living in a home with copious amounts of dust and no shower is the sort of luxurious living that we hope never actually ends. But with a little gentle nudging and a few strongly worded emails (or possibly just the natural passage of what I am now acknowledging to be it's own branch of the space-time continuum, 'contraction time') we have finally have scored some visible progress.

Houston, we have walls. 

...And even some tile! 

And what's that?? A tub!?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I get to go move the laundry.