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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sorry, Dear...

This morning, I got an email from What to Expect about mood swings. Just like the email I received last week entitled "Whose Boobs Are These?" this one does not apply to me. I have not grown giant knockers. I am not being testy (although I did cry at the drop of a hat there for a couple of weeks, and even Monday teared up at the thankfulness song from Veggie Tales Madame Blueberry).

But here's the part where I feel like I'm betraying my husband...

Mornings are some of my favorite times. As much as I used to enjoy luxuriating in bed (before the back thing) for as long as I could, I have grown to adore the hour I spend with James after I've prepared his coffee and breakfast and have waken him up. But today... today, I know that the second he's gone I'm lying back down. Have I mentioned how much I appreciate that he works so hard for our family? I do. And today I'm ready for him to go, because I'm about to pass out.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

So. Very. Tired.

Today did not go as expected, so I only got in one nap instead of two. I know, I'm a huge baby. Have I mentioned how far and away better it is to be working at home than it was to be at an office during my first pregnancy? Oh my, it's practically heaven.

This morning, though, I headed over to the Goodyear center to get an oil change and state inspection for James' car. As it turned out, we needed a new air filter, and new tires, and an alignment... Oh, and their website where I set the appointment didn't mention it, but they don't actually do the inspections there; they take the cars next door. So though I had an appointment at Goodyear, I was at the mercy of how busy the inspection station was for when they'd be finished with the car.

Three and a half hours later, I headed home for a two hour break before picking the littlest Brownies up from school as my sister's float trip had started two hours later than they'd planned due to the business owners not knowing what time their shop was supposed to have opened according to THEIR website.

Since I'd worked the entire time I was waiting for the car, I did nap during that down time. I also helped Daphne with her algebra, but after the first few problems, she kept having to wake me up to ask me questions. I'm so blessed that her schooling is pretty much under her own direction now. I mean, she won't do it if I don't tell her to, but once I've told her, she keep the ball rolling herself. She did everything else besides algebra while I was with the car.

Tian and Travis kept me busy for a couple of hours, and I really thought, "I'm too tired to cook dinner." Once I got started, though, it had its own happy momentum... I genuinely adore taking care of my family. Plus, what I made tonight was so good. I happened to switch to the Clean Eating eMeals plan just in time... The food is heavy on fresh fruits and vegetables, and just perfect for my suspect digestive system. I've been very blessed not to be sick yet, only to have mild waves of blehh... But sometimes I can just think about a food and know that there is no way I could eat it. Tonight's meal was a salad made with quinoa, edamame, baby spinach, chopped almonds, a chopped shallot, and then dressing made from white wine vinegar and olive oil. The side dish was cantaloupe with goat cheese and honey. Two salads! Loved it!

Now I'm standing up, killing time before I can conceivably go to bed without waking up at 3 with a stiff/sore/painful leg. Time for Bible story with Daphne!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Moonlight Towers

Last night, Sarah Hayes and her daughters came over for dinner. We went to high school with Sarah, but I actually went to elementary school with her husband, Rob, and was in class with him every year, kindergarten through sixth grade. He had a migraine, however, so maybe we'll see him next time.

However, while Sarah was here, she told us about moonlight towers, which was something about which I'd never heard. They are unique in the present to Austin, Texas, and you can read about them here.

This sounded fascinating, so I looked them up and found a personalized Google map just for the moonlight towers. There are several very near the house, and when I looked at them on street view, I was shocked. I'd seen them before, but hadn't paid much attention to them because they look for all the world like cell towers. I couldn't believe that they were over one hundred years old.

On Google maps, the nearest tower to our home was said to be located here. If you look at this, click on "street view" then find the tower and scroll up to see how tall this sucker is.

This afternoon, I headed that way. Here are some sites I passed, for your viewing enjoyment. I love how, closer to campus, there are still cool old houses...

... that are often dwarfed by more modern high-occupancy housing.

However, when I got to 22nd and Nueces, I found that the tower had been dismantled down to just the base. I'm sure it is because of the building of this new residential tower. If you compare this to the Google street view, you can see that this used to be a parking lot, and one of the anchors was on the walk on the north side of the lot. I guess there's no room for it now.

I'm not a huge fan of this building, already, because when James and I were walking one afternoon, I looked up and something tiny fell off of the side of the building and into my eye. Then as I was telling James about it, a small piece of wood got dropped off of the construction platform and landed right behind us. Dangerous!

I remembered reading that there was also a tower at 12th and Rio Grande, one block west and ten blocks south. So I decided to go back down that way and see if it was still there. (I knew that there were two further south and east, but James and I already planned to go down there after dark to see them lit up.)

This tower plays music throughout the day and apparently plays classical music as well as Justin Bieber.

One thing we see a lot of around here is co-op student housing. The houses always have several things in common: First, the grounds look a lot like a bunch of college kids take care of them. Second, most of them have gardens out front. I love them! They're almost always old houses, and have lots of character. I posted a picture of one with a bike in a tree when I did our first 'hood tour.

Student co-op housing.

It's a jungle out there!

Local color

When I was at 17th and Rio Grande, five blocks away, I could see the light. Do you see it? It looks almost like a radio tower off in the distance.

Looking in another direction
 Here are some views as I approached it.

Each tower has three anchors with three anchor wires each.

These things were built in the late 19th Century!

In the picture below, you can get a grasp of how huge this system is. The tower itself is 165 feet tall. To the right of the picture, you can see a white pole, which is the eastern anchor. It is across the street and one house down from the tower itself.

Satisfied, I headed back home, eager to see these things lit up.

One of my favorite buildings around here. I love the old-school rocks. Now that there are sunflowers on the roof, I like it even better!

Another tower that we will visit later.

As dusk settled, the tree of us headed over to see two other moonlight towers.

I love this sign and I even love the building. There is a toilet seat mounted to the front of the building.
This tower is located at 9th and Guadalupe. Here, you can see the anchor system without trees obscuring it.

We love our skyline!
Although we didn't see that light lit up, we noticed the one at 15th and San Jacincto when we were several blocks away!

D and James, heading towards the light.

It dwarfs the street light.
This next picture is blurry, but I wanted to take a shot from the same spot, five blocks away, that I took the daytime shot. This is at Rio Grande and 17th, on our way to the light at Rio Grande and 12th.

Finally, I tried to get a picture of the Wells Fargo tower and the light at 15th and San Jacincto, but I had the same issue with stability (should've taken the monopod). To combat this, I put the timer on 2 seconds and tried to steady the camera on James' noggin. It turned out okay except that the wind blew and some of his hair got in the picture!

(The Wells Fargo tower is 70 feet taller than the moonlight tower, 17 stories. The tower is a half block closer.)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pre-natal Care Attempt, #1

Yesterday, I called the Austin Area Birthing Center about coming in for a tour. I filled out a prenatal questionnaire online, and a little while later one of the midwives called me back. 

She walked me through all of the health-issue questions I'd noted. None of them gave her pause (asthma, anemia, ruptured disc) but she did request that, if I needed help sleeping, I take Unisom rather than Gabapentin. She asked, "You *do* know it's a Category C drug during pregnancy?" I did actually know that. I'd researched both it and Naprosyn when I found out I was pregnant. I stopped the Naprosyn immediately, as it can cause birth defects in the third trimester. But I saw enough anecdotal evidence that moms had taken Gabapentin all throughout their pregnancies and had delivered healthy babies, although some of them did have their own infant withdrawals when they were weaned (insomnia, inconsolable). But I didn't know that Unisom was a possibility, and now I do. Anyway, the Gabapentin wasn't really helping with nerve pain... it was just making me sleepy. Same with Naprosyn. I'm not sure whether it helped as an anti-inflammatory; I was still in pain when I was taking it.

The midwife also noted that, when I come in for the tour (which should take about an hour and a half and includes blood work and other risk-assessment tests), that I also needed to meet with their perinatologist, the one MD that they have on staff. This, friends, is because I'm old. Apparently, I require "advanced genetic counseling." That's a tactful way to put it, isn't it?

My hope is that the risk is deemed low enough that I'll be accepted to the Birthing Center. They work with the health insurance I will have a week from now, and it's a wonderful facility. Obviously, my supreme hope is that this baby is healthy... but assuming that, I would prefer this delivery experience to be more calm and less controlled than my hospital delivery. I have no problem advocating for myself, but when one is in labor, one would prefer to concentrate on that and not have to say, "Step away from me; do not intervene unless one of us is in danger!" every half hour.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Last night, I had a dream that I was in this really long line at a barbecue place, and I'd ordered and was waiting to pay for and receive my food when I saw that just in front of me was James... and some lady who was like model-pretty (but almost Playboy Bunny pretty). I was furious. While they were chatting with each other, I managed to get in front of them.

The lady at the register said, "I can't pick up your food yet; it's too hot. Let me get these guys first." (Referring to James and his date.) So I motioned to James, and he looked curious then came up to the register where I was standing.

I got up in his ear and said, "So much for this being our special place, f***er. I hope you choke on your food."

Then they paid and left. I had his shaving brush, and I was trying to throw it at his head, but my arm was asleep, so all I did was toss it into the cash register, which he thought was funny.

So, there's that.

Then I had this vision of my getting pulled out of the airport security check to go through one of those backscatter scanners, and my refusing to do so. Then when I went to get the pat-down, they were frustrated that I couldn't stand the way that they wanted me to, so they manually posed me, and I screamed out in pain. At that point, I was put on a No-Fly list, and wasn't able to go on the trip.

Apparently, my "nesting," which has been focused on wanting to cook and clean, is now going into anxiety about change. Yeesh.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

An Interesting Timeframe

Something I realized this morning: Because of the way pregnancy is dated, as of today, I am considered to be exactly 7 weeks pregnant. I have been married exactly 7 weeks, 1 day. Nice, huh?

This is, the baby wasn't conceived until a couple of weeks later, around Tax Day. But doctors calculate from the first day of the last period, since people rarely know the exact date of conception.

It's amazing to me to think that we might have a child before our first anniversary.

Friday, May 17, 2013

On Being an Old Lady

It's graduation season. Many of my friends on Facebook, contemporaries of mine from various schools, are posting congratulations to their kids who are finishing up high school. I have more than a couple of friends who, in their early 40s, are already grandparents. And here I am, newly-wed and knocked up!

(My mom's going to cringe at that statement.)

This morning, I had to clean up some cat sick (you're welcome for sharing) and realized that, because of my back, sitting in the floor and bending over is difficult. I need to work on the Asian technique of squatting, because that's likely going to have to be my M.O. for diaper-changing, if my disc doesn't magically un-rupture, or dissolve, or whatever it is that it might do.

I'm a lot more laid back this time around, even with the injury and the age and the meds. I've done enough research to feel like everything is going to be fine. And so even though this wasn't planned, I'm excited. Even though, if all goes well, I'll be nearly 60 before this child leaves the home, I'm really honored to be able to give this experience to James, to share it with him.

The initial week of my knowing I was pregnant was so much more relaxed than my first. I have re-read my blog recently, and I was so nervous, worried about income and support. This time is so much more laid-back.

I have often said that I knew, 20 minutes after Daphne was born, that she would be my only. James is the absolutely ONLY man on this planet for whom I would change my mind.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Eating (healthy) for two

I was so touched and saddened and blessed to be able to experience a high school friend's family's dealing with a recent anencephaly diagnosis and, several months later, delivery. I can't imagine the mourning process, dragged out like that, with all of the hormones, and other people's questions and input... and this sweet lady has handled it with unflinching faith and courage, while still being honest in her struggles. I admire her deeply.

My posting of a link of her and her husband with their sweet little girl prompted a response from another friend I have from the homeschool community who said that she, as well, had a boy with the same prognosis. As this was just around the time I was getting married, I thought I'd better start taking folic acid, just in case... even though pregnancy wasn't our plan.

When my test came out positive, I knew I'd been taking a hair and nails pill for some time (I had a few bottles of this stuff, but so did James, so there is probably plenty to get me through this first trimester!), but couldn't remember if I'd started before Tax Day (which we're going to tag as the approximate conception date, since we can't know for sure) or not.

However, when James and I were doing some research earlier, I found this list of foods high in folic acid. Fortunately, I have consumed a lot of avocado and spinach since moving into the Nuthaus, so hopefully we have the thing covered, anyway.

I tend to enjoy healthy foods, but will often eat garbage if I don't think about it. Right now, I am getting to a point where I can't put away as much as usual, so I'm trying to be prudent. This morning, I had a bowl of organic raisin oatmeal (prepared with our yummy raw milk) with James before he went to work. For lunch, I had tortilla chips and salsa, heavy on the salsa, and was wanting something else, but just could not make myself consume anything else. For dinner, I was planning tortilla pizzas and made fresh tortillas, the dough of which I, of course, sampled. Then for dinner proper, I had one of the pizzas (a tortilla, some tomato sauce seasoned with Italian herbs and garlic powder, and Texas-made cheddar cheese) and a spring mix salad with walnuts, dried cranberries, and feta cheese.

Daphne walked up with me to a job this evening, so I got almost 2 miles of walking in. I bought a Cinnabon Minibon from BK to go, and it's sitting here staring at me... but it's gonna be a no-go tonight. If only eating this little and this healthy were as easy when my body is being "normal."

Oh, and I expect my hair to grow out, long and luxurious, like it did last time, too! There *are* benefits to all of this, you know, and I'm looking forward to it!


Today is the first day I've felt a little queasy. I was extremely nauseated for the first three months of my pregnancy with Daphne. Here's hoping it's not quite that bad this time around!

I was very sleepy last night and, even though I knew that I'd regret it, I went to bed at about 9:00 PM. Sure enough, around 4, my body was fatigued from lying down and wanted to get up. As I've promised myself not to dwell on the pre-ruptured-disc days of luxuriating in bed whether tired or not, I'll just apologize to James for all of the tossing and turning between about 2:00 AM until I got up at 6:15. Memo to me to move out to the couch if I can't calm down.

I've had weird dreams the past two nights, and I was really hormonal yesterday. I'm glad I know/remember what to expect so I can try to manage these things around, you know, other humans.

Last night, dinner took longer than I'd expected to make, and I was afraid I'd let James down (he, of course, couldn't care less when dinner is served). He was sweet and made some strawberry banana avocado smoothies to tide us over, then we had an awesome beef Stroganoff and green bean casserole... they were delicious, until I was done, then I was *done*. And so it starts...

James is an introvert, and since we're newly-married, I'm trying to give him the space he needs... and now we get this fun injection of hormones to add to the mix. Yee haw! So last night, after he'd helped with dinner and was just standing there, holding my hand and whatever, while I willed myself to sit on the couch (baby step victories with this sciatic thing), I asked him what was up, and he said he did want some time to himself at some point.

I sent Daphne off for a shower and basically went to bed. I was tired, but I also didn't want to get on the computer and I wasn't able to read: the words were just not penetrating my brain. And since I didn't want to bug James, I slept. Oh, I invited D to come visit with me, but she brought her iPad in and eventually just saw herself to bed.

So, that's the one evening I give myself to pout and indulge in a early bedtime.

Also, though, I didn't take the Gabapentin last night. I'm going to go to bed at a decent time tonight and see if I can make it through the night without being restless. If not, I might get back on it for a while. There's no harm to the baby, though I will have to wean the baby off of it in the future so he/she won't have insomnia later.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Greatest Mother's Day So Far!

Yesterday morning, I woke up and got up early, as my back dictates. However, I didn't fix breakfast like I usually do. Yesterday, I showered and read the paper (The Onion, of course) and took my time getting ready.

Meanwhile, James and Daphne got up and got to work. They made me delicious cinnamon roll pancakes, but I had as much fun watching and listening to them work as I did eating the pancakes.

Daphne and I went to church, and when we got home, we were all still pretty stuffed from our decadent breakfast!

James and I played a game of Boggle, then we both settled in to read a while as Daphne played Minecraft and Skyped with her cousin and friends. I might have dozed off while I was reading. At least until Rudy ruined my nap by trying to snuggle with me, since part of his snuggling involves claws.

A bit after 2, James and I walked to the nearest P. Terry's at my request. He's not had their burgers yet, and we enjoyed a late lunch on their patio. I wish Daphne had come with us because they had a cool little sandbox, and my hope is that she's not too cool to enjoy that kind of thing.

Coming back, James mentioned frozen yogurt and I remembered that TCBY had a "moms get free yogurt" thing going, so we texted Daphne and had her meet us at a nearby landmark that was on both of our ways toward TCBY.

It was fun to see several generations of moms and daughters while we were there, plus we had some fun with optical illusions.

James and I had walked a little bit over 3.5 miles, and this feels so good, spinally-speaking.

When we got home, we all did our own things for a bit, then I had a Whataburger shop that I remembered 10 minutes before the dinner window closed, so Daphne and I ran out for that. Fortunately, we live close to *everything* and got there in time to do the shop.

I enjoyed getting to hang out with both my husband and my daughter separately and together yesterday. It was a fabulous Mother's Day, and I am so blessed.

By the way, in case you're wondering about the cone hats, here's a clue you won't find anywhere else but here!

Friday, May 10, 2013

The View as an Only Child

You might be wondering how Daphne is taking all of this. Well, it varies.

James tried to distract her when I was checking out at CVS, but because they messed up my inhaler prescription, we had to stand around and wait a while, so she saw that I was buying a pregnancy test. She cried most of the way home, even when we stopped at a food trailer and bought her a peanut butter shake.

The next morning, I took the pregnancy test and it was positive. Daphne forgot about it for the first hour or so that she was awake. When she found out, she was petulant about it. Daphne has always taken pride in her "only child" status. I reminded her that it's early, I'm old, and anything can happen.

We had a good day, walking to Whole Foods together, hanging out with the Brownies, going shopping, and seeing a movie together. We talked about it on and off all day. By yesterday morning, Daphne had reached the, "Okay, but if you have any OTHER kids after this, I'm going to be pissed," phase.

Last night, though, she said something that caused a blow-out. We were in my room talking, I'd had her get off of the computer and iPad for the rest of the day, and she was sullen. She said, "I wish it were just you and me in the trailer again." Well, we're a family, and that's not okay. I took a minute to think about it and asked her what she wanted. She couldn't tell me.

A few minutes later, I was sitting on the bed crying alone when James came to check on me. Daphne went into her room and locked the door.

The day before, she's made a comment about how, every time our lives get comfortable, something changes. I assured her that this was a facet of life. Everything always changes. She said that she knew that, but I know that this is rocking her world in a way that nothing else she's been through (and she's been through quite a bit in the past couple of years).

After James sat with me for a few minutes, I told him that I was trying to walk the line between not wanting Daphne to be selfish and manipulative, and giving her the space to feel this and be honest. I went into her room and he kind of hung out, waiting to see if she wanted him to come in or not.

I talked to her a bit, but then I asked her to let me hold her like I did until she was about 7 or 8, and we did that for nearly an hour. We talked some more, and James came in and told her about how he'd been really excited about having a younger sibling, but once Khrys got here, he was pretty much an irritation. James said that it took him until high school to realize how much he loved and appreciated his brother, and how now, he's the surest friend he's ever had (before me :) ).

James went back to leave us to "girl stuff" and we talked for a long time. I told her why I'd made some of the decisions I had, and how fortunate we were to have a man who loved us both. I told her that if she really *did* wish we were still "just us," I hoped she'd try to change that. In my heart of hearts, I didn't believe that was true. But I also didn't want her to start resenting James because "he" has brought in this life-changer.

Earlier in the day, James and I had already talked about each taking one day every other month to go out alone with Daphne, and that we will do that for the next year, then continue to do it after/if the baby comes. He was totally down with the idea.

In the end, Daphne was better, and I was better, and James is pretty easy-going all of the time, anyway. D wanted to show me a picture she'd drawn on the computer, and then she had James look at a programming issue she was having, and which he solved. Then we started talking about software for the Bamboo drawing pad that her dad bought her. As she was exploring those options, she found an updated version of what she's been using, and was thrilled that it has been updated and its functionality increased.

I went to the bedroom to read, and after half an hour or so started getting pretty sleepy. James and Daphne were still chatting animatedly in the living room, so I took my nerve pills and let myself go to sleep. I usually go to bed the same time James does, but I didn't want to ask him to stop what he was doing; whatever she was telling him about, Daphne was pretty excited. I usually prefer quiet when I'm drifting off to sleep, but that was a pretty awesome sound.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Post the First

So, here we are. This is the "new" blog. I got married just over a month ago. I will soon be changing my last name (we're waiting to get back from a passport-required trip, to ease things on ourselves). The URL of my former private blog doesn't fit anymore, so we're moving operations over here. Plus, Wordpress has an annoying inability to be monetized, and once people realize what brilliance my blogs are, it's millionaire city! Right? Right??

However, if you're reading this, it's either because you have a Blogger profile and this popped up in your feed, or because you're a dirty stalker, in which case you need to step aside, ma'am. I have that market cornered, so don't even try to go there with me.

The reason I'm not publicizing this blog yet is that I'm about to reveal something I'm not ready to tell people. Apparently, within a couple of weeks of getting married, I became pregnant. I don't know whether it is my age or the amount of stress under which my body has been or even the meds I started on at about the same time, but I honestly just did not think that this was a very likely possibility. When I decided to have Daphne, back when I was much younger, it took more than six months.

Now, here I am 40 and with a jacked up back, but partnered up with the dearest and truest man I've ever known. I'm nervous, and maybe a bit in shock-related denial.

I already started compiling a list of OB/GYNs I've had recommended to me as viable alternatives to midwifery, for which I do not qualify because of my high-risk status. In fact, I might already have found my doctor. The delivery hospital is fewer than 3 miles from my house, so that's nice.

Part of me, however, can't help but wonder how likely it is that we'll make it to the hospital for a "standard" delivery. That's not just about my age, either... I think I had those same concerns the first time around. At least this time, I know better than to obsess over the delivery (first time: mystery; this time: sciatic mystery, but I realized that should have been the *least* of my concerns).

Also, if I do end up being a 41-year-old mother, I am pretty sure I'll be a lot more laid back than I was the first time. I mean, I've always had a laid-back parenting style, but I was overwhelmed by books and La Leche League and feeling like D needed to be stimulated in order to grow up "smart." I know better now.

I'm also cautiously excited. This is James' first kid. I look forward to walking through the process with him.

I've often said that I knew 20 minutes after Daphne was born that she'd be my only child. I can't imagine loving anyone else enough to renege on that. But James is totally worth it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Nuthaus: I'll Be Quirky

I love our house. It is offbeat and charming and located smack dab in the middle of everything. It has some amazing features, then it has some... well... let's go back in time a little bit.

When we were looking at this house for James to rent, we were told that it was built in the 1930s; it was advertised as being 1300 square feet. Long before he signed the lease, I looked it up in the tax records and found that it was actually built in 1922 and is 1008 square feet. Whatever. It also has a 134-square-foot screened-in porch in back and 180-square-foot covered porch in front. That, my friends, I also verified.

The Nuthaus is located on a lot with two other homes.

One of them is a two-story 688-square-foot one-bedroom dwelling that used to have no inside access between the top and bottom floors. In fact, when we looked at it, you had to access both floors from exterior doors. The kitchen and living area was upstairs and the bathroom and bedroom were on the bottom floor. They had a very compact spiral staircase lying down in the living room and before the tenant moved in, they cut a square access between the upper and bottom floors so that the entire interior can be breached without having to run outside. That house has a downstairs patio and an upstairs deck. It's very funky and cool. James said that if he hadn't been thinking towards family, he definitely would have rented it.

The third house, which was built in 1969 and is actually 1300 square feet (advertised as 1400), is the one we saw on Zillow and wanted to rent. We called the leasing agent and apparently a deposit had been put down on that house the day we contacted him. When we saw all three properties, initially, we were a little disappointed. The bigger house (which the leasing agent insisted was "too big") had a bonus "what the heck is this?" room that had a hardwood CEILING in it. It had closets in every room. The master bedroom was gigantic; there was this tiled area between where you'd sleep and the bathroom that would have been perfect for a recliner or two, and there was access from the yard to that room.

Since we have moved in, however, we've realized that this house is perfect for us. I like having the living and dining spaces in the same room. I like that the kitchen is open to both areas. James' office, which would have been a heat trap in the summer afternoons in the "big" house, is tucked away in a shady corner of the Nuthaus.

That said, this house was built in the 1920s, then used as a business most recently, and then remodeled to look nice but also apparently by people who believed in getting the job done a bit more than they believed in getting the job done with stellar quality, so we have some "quirks."

When James first moved in, the disposal wasn't wired in at all. They hooked it up, and since then my sister and I realized that one of the PVC pipes coming out of the disposal isn't connected by anything like threading or plumber's glue; it's just shoved into place. And it comes undone if you try to put something too tall under the sink. Did I mention that we learned this after we'd shoved a bunch of rancid meat and other assorted left-overs down the kitchen drain before I moved in? Oh, and the disposal is also wired to a light switch. It has to be open for the disposal to work. I mean, there's a switch to turn on the disposal, also. But the first switch has to be on in order to deliver electricity to the disposal before the secondary switch will work.

Speaking of electricity, we noticed early on that the stove, which is gas but has electricity for the timer, clock, oven temp settings, and ignitions, would turn off at seemingly random intervals, only to come back on later. When we reported it, they wondered if it were a bad fuse (yes, the electric box outside has fuses, not breakers). That seemed unlikely, as the oven would eventually turn back on and work fine. If I wanted to use the cooktop, this was no problem. I could light the burners with a match. However, the oven pilot is buried, and even if I could light it, I couldn't make the oven heat up. Later, when I was working over here, I realized that the outlet on the other side of the wall from the oven would also go off at the same time.

Eventually, James came up with a hypothesis and then dismissed it, but he was correct: The oven and outlet are wired to the same switch that is beside the front door and that controls the living room light. So, the living room light has to be on or else the oven and my "office" outlet won't work.

Fortunately, the living room light is on a remote control system that operates the light and the fan. This is also the case for James' office, and our two bedrooms. Unfortunately, James' light bulb is out and we don't have a 12-foot-ladder. Also unfortunately, when he first moved in, the sensors in the light/fan units were funky and the lights would just come on at what seemed to be random times to us, but might have been set off by someone unlocking their car door or opening a garage door remotely.

Actually, when we were helping James move in, I kept going into his (our) bedroom to unpack a box, and the light would be on. I'd turn it off, and when I went back in, it'd be back on. It was bright daylight, so I asked James, "Do you keep turning this light on?" he said no. Well, soon we saw it come on without anyone doing anything. It still did it for a bit when I moved in. By that time, Daphne's had stopped, and the living room one never did it, I don't think. But one warm night, I wanted to sleep with the fan on, but a couple of hours after we'd gone to sleep, I was roused by the light popping on in the middle of the night. Fortunately, this seems to have righted itself. Just in time for summer! (Although we've already experienced the high of 63 today and now the temperature is shooting down.)

During that remodeling, the "craftsmen" painted most of the windows shut. Although this isn't the best fire safety ever, it's just as well that we can't open them because the house has no screens. It's difficult to be upset about that, since I love the amount of light we get through those babies. Also, several of the windows are the original wavy glass! In fact, the window at the front of the house, closest to where I work, is. So is Aish's favorite "looking" window.

There is a newer set of windows in our bedroom, and today I cracked them open for the first time. Immediately, the cats (the naughty ones) tried to figure out how to cram their noggins out of the crack and make it to freedom.

During the renovation, the workers also appear to have replaced the kitchen window. It looks out to the screened in porch, which is in a fenced yard and which is also locked (for what that's worth), so this isn't a huge deal... it just made me laugh. Okay, understand that the kitchen has stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. If you don't remember, you can go back and take a home tour here right now.

So, with all of the efforts to make the kitchen seem "upscale," for whatever reason, they replaced the bottom glass pane with plexiglass and just caulked it in. Consequently, one of the naughtier cats realized that if she bangs on the window long enough, it will pop out of place. Great work, craftsmen!

Speaking of great work, the remodeling has some places where we just shake our heads. First of all, they obviously dropped the pedestal sink or it got scraped in transit. In the middle of the pedestal, there is a gouge... which they patched... with caulk. Yep, gummy caulk is a great patch for porcelain, right?

Also, when they were staining the hardwood floors, someone took one bare-footed step into the living room and maybe went back when he realized that the stain was still setting. There is the front part of a footprint permanently in the flooring just between the living and dining areas.

Now, if you were remodeling a house and you needed to hang a shower curtain, what might you do? I'm guessing you might find out how tall the standard shower curtain is, and then use that measurement to determine the height at which to hang the rod, right? That's what these guys did. Except that instead of measuring from the floor, they measured... from the top of the tub.

When James first moved in, every morning, when he'd shower, he'd end up with a puddle all over the floor. We finally bought an extra long liner to put on the inside, and it's too long. But at least it keeps the water inside the shower where it belongs.

This is a permanent rod, so we can't adjust it. It's also one of those hotel-style bowed rods, to give one more room in the shower. I appreciate that, because the window in the shower has an unnecessarily giant sill (I guess maybe there weren't showers in the 1920s, so that wouldn't interfere when one was bathing) that intrudes greatly when one is cleaning oneself. However, it makes for a claustrophobic experience when one is trying to use the other facilities, if you catch my drift.

Did I mention that the single outlet in the bathroom didn't work at all when we first moved in? We finally got someone out to replace the GFI and I could see that the green light was on, but the first time I tried to use the outlet, it didn't work again. The maintenance guy came out to look at it and asked if we had power out elsewhere. I told him I didn't think so, but he went to test the other rooms. We found out then that the bathroom outlet is connected to... guess... our bedroom light switch! So, we are fortunate that the light no longer comes on of its own accord; otherwise, I couldn't dry my hair while James was trying to sleep lest we risk the random flash waking him. (Actually, that's not very likely. James doesn't, you know, wake up.)

Another thing I almost forgot because management and maintenance finally got it squared away is the washer and dryer. The washer, during the spin cycle, would "walk." It didn't just rock a little bit. It shook like crazy, walked away from the wall, and tried to throw the dryer. This happened to James and it pulled the gas line out of the wall. They tried to fix it by putting wood pieces under it to balance it, and it happened again, this time throwing the soap off of the top of the dryer and I caught it before it threw the dryer again. They put more wood up under the washer. We took everything off of the dryer and tried it again, and it happened again. Finally, they had a technician come out and tweak something. We still don't store anything on top of the washer, and we set the washer to medium spin, and it still does make the dryer door open... because the dryer door doesn't lock (is that normal?), but the washing machine works now!

One kind of funny thing that isn't really about the house: James has these end tables that were a wedding present to his parents. They have their original finish and have scrapes and paint drops and water rings and all sorts of "character." I thought it might be fun to sand them and refinish them myself, just to spruce them up. But when we were shopping for a dining table, we saw so many pieces of furniture with purposefully aged looks and they were extremely expensive! I decided to keep the end table just the way that they are. We put them together in front of the couch and use them as a coffee table, though.

So, quirks and all, this house is perfect for us. We are happy, the cats are happy (like we care), and I almost never get into the car. We can walk to everything we need, even to the grocery store (though I only walk there when I need odds and ends; I can't transport a whole week's worth, though James has talked about getting me a cart), and I have only bought gas one time since I moved in on April 1. I still have more than 3/4 of a tank.

Team Dave's <3 the Nuthaus!