Accomplishments

Thursday:

  • Routine doctor’s visit, met a new doctor from the practice. Everything is fine, normal, healthy, and she landed the doppler-thingy right on the baby’s heartbeat today, first try, no searching or smearing goop around.  It was pretty impressive.  I really liked her, and it looks like I’ll see her again during on my September appointments.
  • We bought the stroller and carseat.  We originally decided on the Baby Jogger Summit X3 (and the compatible infant carseat), but we dawdled on the actual purchase and the price for both of those went up kind of a lot.  Brian has been talking up the BOB strollers (and they get very good reviews, too), so when we saw that the jogging stroller and the infant car seat were each about $70 less than the Baby Jogger equivalents, we snapped them up.  I’m pretty sure that price difference was the opposite when we first started looking.  Milestone complete!  They’ll be delivered on Monday.
  • We hired a plumber to fix the leak under the sink.  Tuesday morning, no more leak and we should have a working garbage disposal.
  • We finally got a schedule for getting the painting done (end of August, although they’ll move us sooner if they can).
  • We hired a yard guy!

Those of you who have seen the house (or who read my post from Wednesday) know that the lawn is overgrown, the flowerbeds are full of weeds, there’s poison ivy in too many places, vines are threatening to take over the wooded areas, and every plant/tree/bush near the house is practically (in many cases, actually) attached to the house.  And we have an acre, so it’s kind of overwhelming.  We knew going into this that we would be hiring help for the yard, so paying for a bunch of yard-related stuff is in the budget.  We just had to prioritize and pick someone.

The first place I called took down my notes about what we wanted and then sent someone out to look over the place WHILE WE WEREN’T THERE.  We never met the guy, never talked to him, never clarified what we might want or not want to do, and we ended up with a quote that didn’t meet what we wanted at all.  Surprise.  I eventually talked to him on the phone, and he quoted us an hourly rate to just have some guys come in and trim or clean up where we point for a set number of hours.  Still not really what we’re looking for.  We want advice, too.  Oh, yeah – this is the guy who basically told me I can’t pay him to remove the poison ivy.  So they’re a no.

For the second place I called, we met with the guy Friday afternoon a week ago.  Turns out his sister went to high school with John, and he (Anthony) was only three or so years behind.  Rhode Island is small and no one leaves.  We liked him, he helped us prioritize, understood what we’re after, WILL help kill and remove the poison ivy, and when his quote came in, it was about what we expected.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to be in any kind of hurry.  It took him over a week to get us the quote, and he wants to do the work in October, and we just can’t wait that long to trim back the stuff that’s attacking the house.  We’re happy to break up the work, but that part needs to be done soon.

John found the third guy (Dana) via a card and write-up on a bulletin board in a local coffee shop.  His website sucks, but we called him Wednesday and he made the appointment to come out Thursday, and we liked him immediately.  He seems very practical, practices organic gardening/landscaping (no pesticides or herbicides), and understood our need to simplify.  He’s maybe a little odd – he’d wander off mid-sentence, get up really close to a tree branch, grab hold of it, and inspect it closely.  With nearly every tree.  He was happy to see that everything we have is native, and said it appears that our yard was designed by a professional, and he even thinks he knows which one (the timing matches up to that guy’s career in RI, although apparently he has moved on to landscaping in the Hamptons).  It is crazy to me that a landscaper could look at our overgrown yard and, based on the layout and the type of plants, be able to name the landscaper.  What was I saying about Rhode Island?  Also, hopefully that means he knows his industry.  Artists can do it – why can’t landscape architects?

After one circuit of the house, I left John and Dana to roaming the yard, and when John came in later, he said, “I hired him.”  I’m glad I’m not the only one who liked him.  Also, turns out his hourly rate is $30 less than the first group, AND he wants to come back in a week to get started.  Works for me!

Reading my mind

John and I bought olive oil when we went to the store the other night, and I expressed regret that we can’t just buy Wegmans extra virgin olive oil like we used to.  We’ve been not so lucky at picking out other relatively inexpensive olive oils over the last few years.  (There are a lot of really boring olive oils out there, and some of the more exciting ones aren’t great for general use.  I feel like Goldilocks.)  We have a Wegmans within reach, if you consider an hour and 15 minutes one-way to be within reach.  I don’t.  I actually considered asking Emily to buy us some so John could bring it back this weekend when he drives up with our stuff from the storage unit.  We picked something since we’ll need it this week, I don’t remember which brand, and shortly after we got home, John said, “I think we owe my mom a really big thank you.”  Of course we do, for any number of things, so I asked for a few more details in my own articulate fashion. “Huh?”

She gave us a housewarming basket with a bunch of traditional housewarming gifts, all with their own meanings, and one of the items is olive oil (“May you be blessed with health and well-being”).  WEGMANS OLIVE OIL.

THANK YOU, PAT!

All is well with the world.

#Blessed

#snortgiggle

Moving happened!

We have moved!  We live in this house now.  And while we are both occasionally overtaken by fits of holy-shit-what-have-we-done with regard to this stupid-big purchase and the baby coming and the changes all of this will mean to my job (and salary), it’s all under control and we’re very happy about it (after the fits pass).  And we have moments like last night when we went to our local grocery store and they played a Frank Turner song we love, or like today at lunch when we walked to the library (it took us four minutes) and found that our Providence library cards work in every library in the state because of course every library in the state is on the same system.  Also, our library has at least four of this year’s six Hugo nominees for best novel actually on the shelf, in the science fiction section (which I didn’t expect to find at all in a tiny town library), meaning they are keeping their collection pretty well up to date.  Yay for me!  And I picked up the new Cat Valente novel from the new releases shelf because I can’t go to the library and not check something out.  Anyway, those moments reinforce that we picked the right place (“It’s a sign.” “You don’t believe in signs.”).

We’re very slowly unpacking (the kitchen is finally a working kitchen again as of last night, although I guess Sunday night to Tuesday night isn’t so bad).  We’ve hired a guy to paint four rooms, and we’re working on scheduling that work, and we’re getting quotes to have someone come out and do some initial yard clean-up (including poison ivy, which we seem to have a lot of).  About three quarters of the outside of the house (first floor) is under attack by bushes and plants and vines of all kinds, and we want some help beating them back.  The poison ivy is all farther from the house, but I want to start killing and removing it as soon as possible.  One place I called says they don’t like to handle poison ivy removal because that can cause their guys to miss work, and I was like, I KNOW, OF COURSE IT’S DIFFICULT, WHY DO YOU THINK I’M WILLING TO PAY YOU TO DO IT.  So we’re probably not going with that guy.  We have a stone wall bordering most of the property that we can barely see through all the overgrown plants, but that’s next year’s problem.  (We have a stone wall!  Of all the things we wanted in a forever home, a stone wall was one we never thought we’d actually get.)

Want to know something REALLY weird?  There’s a CRIB upstairs.  Like, for a BABY to sleep in.  Because we’re going to have a BABY soon.  This kid is going to be 15 years old, and I’m still going to be surprised to see them come in to the kitchen.  I’m adjusting.  Slowly.

(The crib and dresser both got delivered yesterday – BIG thank you to both sets of parents for those and their accessories.  They look FANTASTIC, and they’ll look even better when they’re actually in the baby’s room after it gets painted.)

Things are coming together!

Moving is happening!

This weekend, we are moving everything from the townhouse to the new house.  Well, everything that requires a truck.  Last week, we moved a bunch of little things, stuff that didn’t need to go in moving boxes and was small enough to fit in the car.  And we cleaned.  Tomorrow, we pick up a truck and we’ll make a trip with all the boxes.  I will do no more than supervise, I promise.  Tom is coming on Sunday, so he and John will move all the furniture then.  As long as the only things left by Sunday night fit in the car, we’ll be in good shape, but I have no doubt that we’ll have EVERYthing moved.  Then we’ll just have to do a quick clean of the townhouse, and we’ll be done there.

DONE.  Done with the ugly bathroom that never feels clean enough.  Done with the super-loud creaky floors and stairs.  Done with the nails popping out of the floor downstairs, hurting feet and ripping socks.  Done with the windows that look directly into our neighbors’ house.  Done with the stuffy, overly warm house that has forced us to flee to Starbucks to work for the last two days.  (I’ve been super-productive, though, so maybe working in Starbucks isn’t a terrible thing.)  We left one of the box fans at the new house, so the first level hasn’t had any way to move air for a week or so, and last night we were eating dinner and watching TV and I was SO HOT.  I was dripping sweat doing absolutely nothing.  John was not as uncomfortable as I was (and he’s usually more sensitive to the heat), so I can only assume baby Hugo was contributing to my issues.  It was not fun.  Also, my feet are swollen by the end of every day, and I HATE it.  That is NOT what my feet are supposed to look like.  Or feel like.  It kind of gives me the creeps.

Anyway, we’re ready to move.

Transfers and money back

It’s official – we’re not going to WorldCon this year.  Okay, it was official MONTHS ago, but as of today, we have transferred both memberships over to other people who will really go so now it’s super official.  And because people are basically good (or at least the people in my sample of SFF fans who go to conventions are basically good), both of the people we transferred the memberships to paid us for those memberships.  And because WE are basically good people, we didn’t charge them the full amount we paid back in December.  One of them got her membership (John’s) in time to vote.  The other didn’t, but that means MY votes for the Hugo awards (and other awards) counted, and we all know how important that was to me.  (Voting ended Tuesday night at midnight, and the transfer of my membership went through today.)

Next year, WorldCon is in Dublin.  If we can’t make it (with a baby!), I’ll at least get a supporting membership (which is WAY cheaper) so I can nominate and vote.  I like being involved in this.  These are my people.  This is my community.

Are we going to do something fun and relevant with the money we got back?  Well…sort of.  Fun, no, but Hugo-relevant, yes.  The money is going to go to buying the stroller.  Practicality FTW!

Looking for middle ground

We’ve FINALLY started to shop for baby stuff, and we’ve come to the decision that we need two bassinets: one for our room and one for downstairs.  We have one (thank you very much to John’s parents), but we’re looking for a second one and WHY is this so hard?

Well, the vast majority of bassinets fall into two distinct, EXTREMELY DIFFERENT, categories.

First, the overly ruffled, gag-me-cutesy ones:

Second, the laundry baskets:

If I HAD to choose between only these extremes, I’d probably pick the laundry basket style.  I’m just not that into ruffles…  The one we have already is one of the VERY few in the middle.  Maybe we’ll get another one just like it.

Zannah’s first art class

I took my first art class EVER (well, since 5th grade) last night, and it was pretty neat.  It’s the first of six sessions, Monday nights, and there are five of us.  Okay, there are nine of us, but four people are returning students who are well ahead of the rest of us.  And based on what I could see of the other newbies, they’re all better than me, but hey – that’s why I’m taking a class.

The instructor is this old guy, Don, who shuffles across the floor, has a fairly dry sense of humor, and is pretty blunt.  He had us all fill out some basic information about ourselves – what experience we have, why we’re taking the class, whether drawing has anything to do with our jobs, what level we think we’re at – and then he read them out loud to everyone.

“Zannah…she thinks she’s a beginner…NO experience since elementary school?!?  Not in high school?”  “I took the music path.”  “Hmph.”  Similar for the others, although at least one has more recent drawing experience.  The others apparently just have more natural talent.

Favorite line of the night:

“I’ll ask you to tape down your paper.  I will rip the tape for you because I teach children.  I will repeat instructions multiple times because I teach adults.”

He started by asking us to draw vertical lines an inch apart, all across the page.  Then he said to erase the worst ones and fix them.  I erased all of mine.  Then we progressed to drawing things we could see – angles, shapes, flower pots.  He very briefly showed us shadows and then it was 9pm and time to go.  But I get to go to an art store this week and buy stuff!

Exciting.

There’s always something

It wasn’t that long ago that I was rhapsodizing about them, but lately, the LAST thing I want is a hot shower.  Our townhouse doesn’t have AC.  (Our new house doesn’t either, but it’s much better insulated and it’s pretty shady there.)  We have a portable unit we bought in Oregon that vents out the window, and the townhouse had one regular window unit when we moved in.  It wasn’t TOO big of a deal last fall because we moved in September and we only had a couple of really hot days before the cooler weather started.  Now, though, it’s HOT.  We’ve had several days in a row of 90+ degree weather, and the house is pretty much unbearable.

We’re keeping the window unit running in our bedroom 24/7 (can’t wait for that electric bill), and it’s the only room that feels nice to sit in (with, of course, no place to sit other than the bed).  We moved the kitchen table and the portable unit into my office, so John and I are working together in the only other air-conditioned room in the house.  Fortunately, it’s been a quiet week for meetings so we’re not getting on each other’s nerves.  Unfortunately, the portable unit can’t keep up, so we’re still dying.

Today, even though it’s our first sub-90 degree day in a week, it’s still too warm in the house, so we’re camped out at Starbucks.

That is not the point I was going to make when I started writing.  My original point was that COLD SHOWERS ARE THE BEST.  Truly, that is not something I ever thought I would say.   It has become a necessity to take an actual cold shower before bedtime, both to clean off the sweat that’s accumulated all day long and to cool down before sleeping in the only cool room in the house.  AND IT FEELS SO GOOD.  It’s so hot in the rest of the house, bathroom included, that I find myself lingering under cold freakin’ water.  Maybe this is related to the pregnancy thing, too, but except for one incident, John has been as hot and uncomfortable as I’ve been.  We were watching TV, relatively cool, and all of a sudden I was like, “John, I need you to point the fan directly at me, I am so hot I can’t stand it please hurry up”.

Not to worry – I can find something to complain about in the only cool room in the house, too.  The window unit can only go in the window at the foot of the bed (lack of outlets and appropriate extension cords), and the air (which cannot be directed) blows directly on the pillows in the middle of the bed.  When I’m sleeping on my left side, like I am supposed to do, facing the middle of the bed, it blows directly on my face.  Consequence?  I wake up every morning congested with a drippy throat.

When will life be perfect, huh?