Thankful for a Place to Sleep

Posted on 11/29/2014 06:48:00 AM
Because we are stupid, or gluttons for punishment, or just stupid, we decided this week would be a good one in which to evict all the wall to wall carpeting from our house and refinish the original hardwood floors underneath.  We've been talking about it for awhile, but fate kind of forced our hand and gave The KingofHearts some time off in between jobs thanks to an impromptu layoff in November.  (Still pretty miffed about that one.)  I also had a couple of days off after my conference ended, so we decided to use the time to our advantage and declared this a good week to embark on that project - before he started the new job that he was offered less than two weeks later because he's awesome like that.  What we didn't count on was snow in November and how long polyurethane takes to dry.

Everything got stacked in the kitchen and our beds were disassembled and placed outside on the deck.  

Then we began the not difficult, but long and arduous task of removing about a kajillion staples (yes, we counted) placed in the floor by overzealous carpet installers.  Everyone helped (well, everyone but The Dormouse, who was pretty bothered by the change overall so she pouted and read books in the other room while the rest of us worked).

Then, because this is how all projects go, we took two steps backward and decided that while we had the room empty and the floor bare and unfinished, we'd better oughta paint the walls first.  So my beloved sage and cherokee red colors got changed to this:

I still don't love it, but it's nice and we changed it because Reasons!

After that we began stripping the floor down to its bareness with a floor sander.  I have no pictures of this stage of the process because it was back breaking and unpleasant and I do not wish to remember it, or do it ever again so don't suggest I come help you refinish your floors unless you plan to do the Sanding Step yourself.  Come to think of it, I also do not like the Painting The Trim Step as The KingofHearts can testify due to my complaining. 

Once that was done, we began staining the bare floor a less objectionable color,

then applying a polyurethane coat, (smelly!),

until we had a finished product.

The cats are still bothered by the change and refuse to lay on or walk on the new floor whenever it's an option.

Then just for good measure, The KoH did this in his spare time:

Our plan was to be finished before the snowfall on Wednesday, but that also didn't work out too well because Reasons!  So we ended up finishing on Wednesday evening and then trying to put the house back together and bringing in sodden doors and bed frames from the deck while simultaneously preparing a Thanksgiving dinner.  We finished around noon, with just enough time to put the turkey in the fryer and to eat by dinner time.  The Caterpillar declared this Thanksgiving "the best day of the year;" I have yet to understand why.  Probably because we let them watch an insane amount of television this week.  For me, the day didn't really get good until desert:

My thoughts: 

Philosophy from a 7 Year Old

Posted on 11/26/2014 09:03:00 PM

My thoughts: 

Mommy's Little Busker

Posted on 11/24/2014 04:02:00 PM

is my daughter, who has made a jar that says "Tips" on it and is now playing viola in the driveway for the neighborhood afternoon traffic.

Finally, I can rest, assured that I will be taken care of in my retirement.

My thoughts: 


Posted on 11/10/2014 04:03:00 PM
I've been away for the last week and got home late last night, exhausted. The Shortlings were already in bed when I got back, so I put my feet up, laid my head on The KingofHearts' shoulder and stared at the television show he was watching in a sort of comatose, post conference stress disorder.  Things have not been going well lately and I've been cranky about it to say the least.  That's another post, but if anyone knows a new, miraculous way to stop time while we get a few ducks in order to meet a deadline, or maybe a few hundred thousand dollars they aren't using just now, I'd really love to hear about it. 

I looked over at the footstool and my foot was resting on a purple index card with The Caterpillar's handwriting on it.  

"What's that?"

"Oh, that's something The Caterpillar wrote while you were gone," said The KoH idly, "It's a poem."

"You told her to write a poem?"

"No, she just wrote it. I don't know why."

The Dormouse is working on a book of poetry for her write-a-book entry this year, so I asked, "Did The Dormouse help her write it?"

"No, she just did it all by herself. I just looked down and she was finishing it up the other day."

I picked up the card and read it.  It was full of seven-year-old's spelling-isms and not written in verse, but once I figured out all the words, I was floored by the depth of eloquence in her little brain.  

They fill up your life, these kids.


It is one of the most remarkable things.
When beauty rises with the colors of the sky, it makes the sunrise.
With all the colors of dawn it makes the morning 
filled with joy, happiness, beauty, quietness, 
but above all,

My thoughts: 

We Tank You for Your Patronagery

Posted on 11/10/2014 05:40:00 AM

My thoughts: 

Raising Awareness

Posted on 11/09/2014 07:58:00 AM
I think our Movember effort is coming along nicely, don't you?

My thoughts: 

Happy, Cheesy Kids

Posted on 11/08/2014 07:52:00 AM
These are photos from a talent show they competed in a couple months back. There was a story I intended to write to go along with these, but we've entered the season of Big Work Things and My Brain Is Mush (the two may be related). I do not remember it now.  What do they say?  A picture is worth a thousand words.

My thoughts: 

An Audience with the King

Posted on 11/07/2014 07:48:00 AM
Henry VIII, in fact. Let's hope he doesn't marry either of them any time soon.

My thoughts: 

No Excessive Spinning, No Excessive Fun

Posted on 11/06/2014 07:47:00 AM

My thoughts: 

Mommy's Little Circus Performer

Posted on 11/05/2014 05:52:00 AM
Last month, we took in this act at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Fair.  If you ever have a chance to see Circus Stella, I suggest you go, because they are hella fun. And because I'm considering leaving her with them so she can earn her keep and/or support us in her old age.

My thoughts: 

Performing Artists

Posted on 11/04/2014 08:21:00 AM
The Dormouse switched to playing viola in the school orchestra late last year so she's been playing just under a year. Playing strings for just over two years.  One of the reasons I encouraged the switch is because in middle school and high school, strings get competitive and mean.  The Dormouse has a friend at a different school, also in sixth grade, who got challenged for her chair and lost it.  It was devastating for her.  I know sixth grade is middle school here, but it wasn't for me and I feel like this age is too early to start turning a love of music into some dog-eat-dog competition where only the rich kids who have money for private lessons and professional quality instruments get to be on top before they've even learned how to work together in a group.  This probably sounds like sour grapes, and maybe it is, but it beats the love of music out of so many kids and they quit playing in middle and high school partly because it becomes not so fun anymore.

The Dormouse's school doesn't challenge for chairs, which is nice, but having her switch to viola means that there's a) less competition in future years and b) it puts her in a group of people that's a little more relaxed about things while still caring about making music.  I realize that's stereotyping, but I've spent a lot of years in orchestras.  Stereotypes don't apply to everyone but they are sometimes there for a reason.  Viola players are just less high strung (pun intended).

The other thing it did was give her a greater chance for stuff like this.  This county has a middle school, audition-only honors orchestra.  I heard that 160 kids auditioned on violin for less than 40 available seats.  I know 8th graders who auditioned and didn't make it.  But there aren't that many viola players, so my too-young-for-sixth-grade sixth grader won a seat.  

This is cool, but not for the reason you'd think.  Yes, I'm a braggart, as I was told thanks to the FacePlace after I made the mistake of not considering my audience before hitting "post."  I'm proud of her.  That's my job as a mom, so while that comment was hurtful, I'm not gonna apologize for that.  But more importantly, what this did for my kid who has yet to play anything in her particular school orchestra that was more than about twenty seconds of Hot Cross Buns-type material, was to give her an experience of playing above her level and making real music.  Of playing with a group of musicians who all cared about making good music as much as her.  Of seeing a possible future for this instrument.  I never saw that for myself until I started auditioning for county and state orchestras and heard the difference in the level of musicianship.

I wish every kid who auditioned could get in.  I know that's not possible.  I wish there could be two orchestras. Or three.  If I had a butt-load of money to donate, I'd make that happen so more kids could have this type of experience.  Because even if these kids don't eventually go into music professionally, they just had the experience of a whole that's greater than the sum of its parts, which is an amazing life lesson.

A couple of months ago I got to go to see Ben Folds with the Baltimore Symphony orchestra.  It was amazing.  He stopped the concert to talk to the audience about the need for cities with good, professional music and why that makes a difference to the overall health of the city itself.  He gave a long speech about the things he learned while playing in a group as a kid.  I could have hugged him (I actually did after the concert, but that's another story).  And then he said he had a short version of that speech.  Here it is:

"Some cities don't have a symphony orchestra... and some cities have bad symphony orchestras... and... those cities suck."

Here's to a county school district that doesn't suck.



My thoughts: 

Halloween Roundup

Posted on 11/03/2014 05:36:00 AM In:
Meant to do this earlier, but this month has been extremely busy. Here's a round up of our Halloween festivities. Minutiae style.

Pumpkin carving goes much faster with power tools.

Here's a roundup of the pumpkins that got completed that night.  Minus the Elsa pumpkin, which I never got a picture of due to it's labor intensive, three day, production schedule.

My pumpkin needs to be seen in the light for its proper effect.

Someone does a nice impersonation of a pumpkin.

 In all its forms.

Our costumes have really very little to do with each other.

But the phase "You killed my father, prepare to die" works for both.

This is Glinda.  No, not the one from the Wizard of Oz.  This Glinda. It was difficult explaining this to neighbors giving out candy.


This one went as RapunzelWitchCatWomanWithASpiderTattooOnHerFace.  It's high concept.

This game was followed by Halloween Pictionary.  We grown men and women really know how to party.


Halloween was a month long celebration at the Renaissance Fair.

My thoughts: 

Proof She Wasn't Switched at the Hospital

Posted on 11/02/2014 07:14:00 PM In:
"Gimme and L... 

"Gimme an A... 

"Gimme a Z... 

"Gimme a Y... 

"What's that spell? 

"Eh... I don't really feel like saying it."

My thoughts: 

Me in 3 Seconds

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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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