Saturday, January 29, 2011

remind me why i like old homes...

a bit ago we had a 4 day weekend and bryan went to the basement for a workout on his new smith machine (that he put's huge). a few minutes later he came up flustered saying our basement flooded...what? apparently, the expansion tanks became water logged and began to seep onto the floors. we are not talking inches, but enough to warrant reorganizing things, emptying boxes and assessing water damage with pictures (of course photo albums got wet). the service dude came out that afternoon (an accomplishment in the post storm craziness) and made the proper adjustments. luckily, our basement is dry and bryan is a smart man so things were dried up that night. time to get more plastic bins...

heating with oil. man o man. are you kidding me with this? we must have a hole in our home somewhere or a door or window is always open. i admit it is rather cool inside and i knew it would be more to heat this place, but jees. i'm ready to see how much it would cost to overhaul our heating system altogether. ok, at least have an expert evaluate our energy inefficiencies, especially during these winter months. there are two humongous oil tanks in the basement. they have been filled twice. and need to be filled again soon. get out your sweaters and socks everyone, it may get a little cooler in the house.

damn ice dams. lots of snow, sunshine, it's the perfect storm. luckily the pitch of our roof makes the snow slide right off, but our gutters are jam packed with ice. besides needing a new roof and gutters (and probably a reinsulated attic), someone (ok, not me) is worried about water pouring into the house. i have a feeling these are isolated incidents because of the excessive amounts of snow, but who knows what will happen. just supporting all preventative efforts.

if i think about all this, it can be overwhelming. so i don't.

deep in it

snow. everywhere. the first storm came just after christmas and it was really pretty. we made it an event, watching it from the upstairs windows while the kids played games and we had movies on all day. in the background, we had to prepare like a hurricane was coming: batteries, flashlights, canned goods, bottled water, dug out all our blankets, tried to find our candles. that storm brought about 14 inches (maybe 17?). the next day, our vacation day turned into a snow day. bryan and i spent the morning shoveling a path for the car and to the entrances to the house (the kids were watching "beauty and the beast").

the second storm came while we were in chicago. we received notice of our cancelled flight and and snow days the day before the storm, we knew it was going to be bad. i had this icky feeling in my stomach that we should have let our neighbors know that we were going out of town, but i thought they may have noticed...anyway, we came back and a fresh thick blanket of snow was covering everything (the temps immediately warmed after the first storm, melting the snow!). our driveway was not as undrivable as it should have been so we gathered our great neighbors must have helped us. awesome. in the next few days, we noticed some of our trees had split and fallen as well, this was a doosey.

there have been other weather "events" that have warranted some effort. one night in particular, bryan had to shovel the driveway once we came home. the sun was setting rapidly and the snow was turning into rain. he was soaked to the bone. it was ridiculous. he bought a snowblower ("snowthrower" as they say in these parts) before the next storm.

the third storm was hefty but really pretty...10 inches of fluffy white stuff. it came down in a matter of hours. the range of snowfall within a region was crazytown: 4-20 inches, what? so bryan was able to use his new toy and we watched him from the 2nd floor bathroom window. pretty cool. he saw a neighbor use it and felt good about his purchase.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

it's all new to you (me, all of us)

the lag in entries is evidence in our continued adjustment to life in the bobbie house. ok, fine. we get caught up in our routines trying to incorporate some regularity in our new lives...trying to do this during the holidays is challenging.

the picturesque family trip in search of the perfect tree turned out to be a 3 minute car ride to the lot across the main street. but the evergreen smells were delicious...the kids were awed by rows and rows of trees and pointed out five different ones before deciding on the right one. (apparently, our timing was great and we had arrived just after a huge rush so there were plenty of people available to help us...we were really thankful!!). after our 3 minute ride home, tree in the house and up, boxes up from the basement - i was in search of proper libations for the trimming...of which we had none. good thing the liquor store is even closer than the tree lot! kids had snacks, mommy and daddy had drinkies, daddy tended a fire, mommy balanced the ornaments (initially bottom loaded) throughout the tree. our lovely specimen proved to be rather thirsty...lots and lots of water (note: an empty wine bottle works well as a watering vessel).

the day finally arrived after all the prep and tree looked far more bountiful than i ever thought it would this first chirstmas on our own, overwhelmed by the love from our family and friends. shocked we had to REMIND them it was THE day, we went downstairs and proceeded with the opening...they couldn't even get past the first gift (hot wheels trax and a dollhouse). after a few gentle reminders, they moved on to the rest...baxter ripping through them rather quickly, beatrix taking her time. we were getting through a nice strong pot of coffee so we were good...baxter requested "popups" (popovers) so i got to cook...loving it.

blizzard. snow storm. east coast style. no hype (ok, not really as compared to chicago), just take it seriously. made sure we had the basics on hand in case of power outage and braced ourselves. it was beautiful as it fell all sunday. no thunder snow storms and the final count was about 18 inches...all resulting in a snow day for us. alas, not another day in pjs as we had to shovel a path in our driveway and sidewalk within three hours of the end of the snow (it's the law). our lovely neighbors snowplowed our walks on their way to our other was a great help! unlike the great midwest snows, the temperature slowly crept up each day following and by the new year, it smelled like spring.

my parents came to visit during new year and it was also a quiet one. asleep by 10:30, party animals that we are. i made a big container of sangria, per request of my mom. so yummy. they offer to help with stuff around the house and i do not even know where to begin...

i bought a player for my's been too long - so important to be surrounded by the music.

Friday, November 26, 2010

day of thanks: round one and two

we had our first guests stay with us a few weeks ago. bryan's parents came to visit for just over a week and is was great. the kids and waited in the kitchen for them to arrive (we couldn't all fit in the least we didn't try at first...). when we saw them coming, we zipped through the kitchen through the dining room to the front hall to greet them. as we did, i caught a whiff of a fresh solid deposit from our dear feline. i guess he wanted to greet them as well. i did my best to cover the not-so-pleasant aroma, but alas...nothing like saying, "welcome to boston and our new home! hope you like the smell of cat poop!" the kids were eager to show them their rooms so giving a tour of the house was tricky. had to happen over the course of several walks though the house.

having guests in the house was super...the kids would be having breakfast and in would walk grandma and grandpa.. everyone was quite excited. leaving our home for the day was like leaving grandma's house - she would be peering out the window and we would "beep beep!" as we drive away. during the day, they helped us a great deal by unpacking (and organizing!) the kitchen and dining room - made a huge difference; and to top it off, we would have dinner ready when we arrived home. yeah, it was hard not to get used to it.

we all decided to celebrate thanksgiving while they were there - nothing fancy at all. in fact, all completely betty crocker (including cranberry sauce in a can, mmmm). we soon found out our kitchen was easily conducive to large meals (and children) because while mashed potatoes were being cooked, kids were watching a the kitchen - and no one (bryan) was having a cow. everything was yummy and everyone ate well and we were quite thankful for the dishwasher.

thanksgiving round two was much simpler (ham and a tangine) but just as yummy. baxter was not a huge fan of turkey and had requested the ham so ham it was. cookies as well. the holiday so far has been quiet, a nice opportunity for the kids to just play (i busted out the lego set we won at children's while max was in the hospital) and us to progress on a few things in the house. bryan is continuing to put together a smith machine in the impressive undertaking, i must say but if anyone can do it, he can. me? closet organization, oh one point the kids were on the third floor, i was on the second floor and bryan was in the basement. quiet time success.

Monday, November 1, 2010

mostly treats

there was much build up to the big event and not without any drama or threats to cancel. if it were not for a last minute nap, there would have only been one parent and child venturing through the neighborhood in search of homes distributing treats for the evening's festivities. alas, they both were off in good spirits and in time to experience the first trick-or-treater at the house. that certainly rushed their preparations. we decided to distribute from the ashland side per advice from a neighbor to prevent an overload of visitors and bryan politely put up a festive sign directing them to the proper door around the corner on the porch (it worked as only a hand full of of children rang the mill street doorbell).

children came by the carload (total about 200), which seemed to line the streets. the doorbell would ring, i opened the door and there would be 4-8 the background would be groups of kids crossing the street, yelling & laughing & running (it was more than cool) then as i step back into the house, i get a waft of chili...(downtime: i am working at my laptop listening to last year's glee soundtrack). kids come home (minus the hats and mittens i had put on them when they left home) red faced and runny nosed, excited about their adventures. and their thrill continues as they distribute candy to the kids and then run to the middle of the floor to where all their candy is spilled, ready to eat the next piece. lights went out and all went quiet at about 8pm...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"it is fall, it is fall...the leaves are falling everywhere"

when we opened the kitchen door to leave this morning, we could barely make out the driveway as it was completely covered with leaves. the trees are mostly gold with smatterings of orange and bits of red here and there. it really is lovely but a bit treacherous to walk on, not to mention it is carried and trekked throughout the house. yesterday evening the kids were dutifully picking up leaves and throwing them in the garbage. i looked at bryan who smiled...nice bit of training there. (i wondered if he could get them to tidy up the driveway...)

and they (we) sing this almost every morning on the way to school.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

kitty magnet

there are so many cats that hang by the house. we get home and a black cat is on the back porch. this morning there was an orange striped one on the kitchen steps. we have also seen a black and white one, a grey one, a grey and white one...can they smell vegas? is that why he's so happy? living like a king in a castle? who knows...looking at the matted spots in the bushes, a few have found some comfy spots and are seeking shelter from the recent storms on our porches. they do not seem underfed so they are likely neighborhood kitties or there is a mouse population being nicely controlled. bryan says that when it gets colder i need to honk the car horn to scare off any cats that may have fallen asleep in the warm wheel wells. ick. even with the gruesome image, i will need a constant reminder.

p.s. i was going to name this post "pussy galore" but self-edited...