June 30, 2007

The grouch within

Posted in The musings of Erin at 6:52 pm by Erin

I’m normally pretty even-tempered and usually am in a good mood.  In the last few days, however, I’ve snapped at J and at P several times.  I even hung up on J once when he called yesterday afternoon.

Our air conditioning is out.  Just dead.  And it’s been in the 90’s the last couple of days.  It went out on Thursday sometime.  We didn’t get home until after 5, so we couldn’t call before Friday, and we can’t get anyone here until at least Monday afternoon.  The reason I hung up on J was that he made an appointment with the first person he called on Friday.  A person who can’t get here until next THURSDAY.  I told him he damned well was going to find someone to get here before Thursday and if not, he could stay home with P while I sat on my ass in his air-conditioned office for four days (I think I actually said worse–I get somewhat vulgar when I’m grouchy.  Luckily, P was up in quiet time and didn’t hear it).  Then I hung up.  He soon called back with someone else who could come on Monday afternoon.  I grumped a bit more but did thank him for that.

P and I were home all day on Friday, which was awful.  We did everything we could to keep the house as cool as possible, but the thermostat still read 88 by late Friday afternoon–it’s at least 5 degrees hotter upstairs.  As soon as the temp dips below the high, we open the windows.  We’ve got ceiling fans in almost all of the rooms and P has discovered the amazing joys of drinking vast quantities of ice water.  He really likes to eat the ice.  And popsicles.  And cool baths/showers.  We’re taking a lot of them lately, drought be damned.

Today, we tried to stay out during the hottest part of the day.  We took P to his first movie: Shrek the Third.  It was cute and amusing, and we all had a good time.  We bought him a new toy box for his bedroom since the giant basket he’s been using is moving into his little brother’s room.  (It really is a giant basket that’s just the perfect height for a baby or young toddler, and no top or anything to worry about.  Just in case you were wondering, that bear that P is leaning against is almost as big as he is.)  Then we went to dinner, where P steadfastly refused to eat until we were about to leave.

I feel like such a slacker, but the heat is absolutely killing my will to do anything at all.  I was supposed to have a girl’s night this weekend.  It’s probably a good thing that I forgot to send out the e-vites until after I was back, because the a/c went out the afternoon that I was planning to do it.  Otherwise, there would be a bunch of us here with tasty desserts (and maybe spinach dip???), but we’d be sweating out every bit of liquid we’d consumed over the past week.  Emily, you up for another night this week before you leave?  Maybe Tuesday?  Just give me a call and let me know.

I have another friend who’s now back in town–hooray!  I really want to bring her by some brownies and visit, but there’s no way in hell that I’m turning on the oven in this heat.  We’d die.  We’ve either eaten out or gotten take-out since the a/c died, and P and I have been subsisting on cold cereal and sandwiches during the day.  OK, we’d be subsisting on that anyway during the days, but I would normally at least cook dinner.

Now I must turn off the computer–it’s putting out too much heat.  On to continue re-reading the Harry Potter books in preparation for July 21st. 

June 27, 2007

Now I lay me down to…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted in The musings of Erin at 9:14 pm by Erin

I have had the best few days, but I may be the most exhausted person in the world.  Sunday afternoon, P and I left Atlanta and drove to Columbia, SC.  J and I used to live there when we were first married and attending graduate school (Go Gamecocks!), and P and I were staying with a friend overnight.  A friend who I’ve been mostly out-of-touch with for a while, especially given her "Hey, I have a baby and you didn’t even know I was pregnant!" from last year.  But she and I were good friends and so I got in touch and we stayed with them that night.  I’m so glad we did.  I’d forgotten how easy she is to talk to.  Her oldest is 5 and he and P had a very good time playing and watching movies together, and she and I stayed up talking until we couldn’t keep our eyes open.  We’re very similar and have a lot of the same values in common, and I hope we’ll stay in better touch now.

On Monday morning, we drove the rest of the way to Myrtle Beach to meet up with DD, Mr. DD, and X!  We spent the afternoon at the beach and it was wonderful.  P and X had a really good time playing on the beach and later in the pool, then watching movies together (actually, P fell soundly asleep as soon as they started).  Her SIL was kind enough to invite P and I to stay with them that night, so I didn’t have to bring him back to a hotel as soon as he fell asleep, which was great.  It allowed us to stay up and eat cake100_2785, both in honor of DD’s impending 40th birthday and for Mel’s blogoversary!

DD is every bit as wonderful in person as you would expect from reading her blog.  And X is the sweetest and liveliest child–he’s wonderful!  We had a really nice time together; alas, all too soon, P and I had to hit the road for a drive up to North Myrtle Beach, where a large contingent of extended family on my mom’s side was celebrating the 50th anniversary of my great aunt and uncle.

There were: my great aunt and uncle, their three children (who are clearly well-grown, as their parents are celebrating their 50th) and spouses, the two young kids of one child, the two grown kids and their spouses of another child, one child from each of those couples, another cousin and her family, and P and I.  All together, I think there were 22 of us.  Five were preschoolers or younger: 6 months, 1, 2, 3, and 4.  We spent the afternoon on the beach again.  P has quite the little tan, especially considering that I slather him in SPF 50 every time we go out in the sun.  It was a crazy time, with spaghetti and meatballs and cake for all at dinner that night.

I love that part of my extended family.  I don’t see them nearly often enough, but considering they came in from Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, New York, and Hawaii (and us in Georgia), we’re pretty spread out.  But we have a really close family even so, mostly due to the fact that we weren’t so spread out when I was young–we spent a lot of holidays and vacations together.

I would have liked to spend more time but all of a sudden, it was 8:30 on Tuesday night and I had a 6 hour drive ahead of me with P in the car!  I planned to stop somewhere in the middle and spend the night at a hotel, but we had to be back by 11 a.m. for our fingerprinting appointment.  Instead, I was feeling pretty strong when we passed through Columbia (by which point P was asleep), and still OK when we passed through Augusta at 12:30.  Unfortunately, I was quite tired by 40 miles later.  And there’s NOTHING between Augusta and really close to Atlanta.  So I pushed on.  It was pretty scary driving while I was that tired, but gum and belting out Broadway hits from Miss Saigon and Les Miserables helped.  P can sleep through anything, so I really belted them.  I also stopped several times and walked around the car a bit, which kept me pretty alert.

We made it home safely by 2:45 a.m.  I’d had the foresight to change P into his pj’s, so I popped him into his bed, took out my contacts, threw on a nightgown, and fell into bed beside J, who was so happy to see me that he barely opened his eyes.  Good thing nobody was breaking in!

I woke up at 9:52 and hastily (and illegally, since it was after 10 before I finished) watered my lawn and flowers.  We left at 10:30 to be fingerprinted and left immigration shortly before 1 p.m., all fingerprinted and done!  We went to lunch and J finally made it into work by 2:30.  Good thing it’s his law firm!  P had quiet time while I cleaned up and unpacked, then we dashed to the library to return some books that were due today, and rushed home.  I made him some dinner, which he started at 6:55) and taught a Bradley class while he ate played with his food, and told him if he didn’t eat his baby carrots and applesauce by 7:30 (or "By the time the big hand is on the 6"), he was going straight to bed.  Promptly at 7:30, with 3 of the 4 baby carrots and half the applesauce still remaining, he was in bed.  He cried for 3 seconds and zonked out.  I think he’s as tired as I am. 

So why am I still awake at midnight?  Now I’m hyped up on reliving it.  We really had a wonderful time.  And now I don’t have to go ANYWHERE for several weeks, until we go to Utah to visit my IL’s.  I’ll also have to tell you about P’s and my Florida trip a few weeks ago–another fun trip, but you’ll understand why I’m ready to stay home for a while now!

June 22, 2007

We interrupt this home and garden post…

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 12:33 pm by Erin

For an adoption update: our Homeland Security fingerprinting appointment is next Wednesday!  Holy crap, something is happening!  I’ve heard that it takes about 2 weeks or less after the appointment to get the I-171H clearance.  Our I-600A was just logged in on June 11th, which means it’ll be about a month between us sending it and receiving clearance.  That’s so much faster than I expected!

I’d better make sure the last of this dossier material is done!

Let’s try this one again, shall we?

Posted in The musings of Erin at 9:57 am by Erin

OK, back to the gardening stuff.  I’ll make sure to save frequently because damn, but I am NOT doing this one a third time!  Keep in mind as I talk about gardening that we’re under drought restrictions and I can only water outdoors on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays between midnight and 10 a.m.  I suspect soon I’ll only be able to water on Saturdays, as the drought isn’t getting any better.  Also keep in mind that we have red clay soil in Georgia and it’s difficult to grow things in it–it doesn’t drain and doesn’t easily allow roots to grow.  So it can be frustrating–it’s a huge amount of work to keep plants growing well in it.

Here’s a picture of the front of our house from February.  At the time, we had two large trees (a Bradford pear and a sweet gum) that resided in our front yard.  The sweet gum has never been healthy–you can see the trunk of it on the far right of the house picture.  We’d lost a very large branch from the Bradford pear about a year and a half ago and knew it needed to come down, but were hoping it would wait until the fall when I will have a paycheck again.  Alas, a couple of weeks ago, a vicious little afternoon thunderstorm came through and half of the pear tree came down, blocking half the road.  We were at our other neighbor’s house at the time, and the neighbor who helped us last time came over and had the entire road part cleared when we came out a few minutes later.  He’s been wonderful.  Two days later, we had both trees taken out.  Now the front of our house looks like this.  Having such big trees was lovely for the shading but horrible for growing grass, and so we have huge bare spots on our lawn.  So I’ve planted grass seed, which is supposed to be watered twice a day.  Once a day is more than I can manage with our restrictions, but I’m watering it when I can and we’ve had several very convenient storms that have dropped enough to keep it going.  It’s filling in.  A big problem is also that our land is VERY steep and if it rains too much at once, half the dirt on the lawn starts flowing down.  So getting the grass filled in is pretty important.

One of the things I do over the summer is as many little projects as possible.  Take Project Baker’s Rack.  We have had the ugliest bookcase in our kitchen for the last 3 1/2 years.  It’s functional, but really ugly.  Plus, it blocks the heating vent.  So we (read: I) decided to replace it with a baker’s rack.  I ordered it on Eb@y and it came in a million pieces with but a single picture of how to put it together.  Keep in mind that boxes are very good entertainment for children when you’re trying to get something done.  It took about two hours, but it was worth it.  This is so much prettier!

Another project currently going on is Project Basement Renovation.  It’s a big one.  We’ve finished almost all of the paneling and built the half-wall.  The front half (where the weight bench is currently residing) will be a playroom space, while behind the wall will be the weight bench and treadmill.  We (read: almost entirely J) cleaned out the back part the other day, so next week I’ll be putting down stick tile and setting it up.  Then we can carpet the front part, move the futon downstairs, and set that part up.  It’s not a lot of money when we’re doing most of it ourselves.  Most of our projects are done in our garage–we have a lot of supplies and tools.  I’m also working on a gate to keep the dogs out of the garage so we can park the car there, but still allow them access to the backyard.  It’s nearly done.  And yes, I use the circular saw more often (and better) than J!

Our biggest project by far has been the greenhouse.  It took us forever, though we could have finished faster if we’d put in the time.  But it’s done now and I love it.  The windows on the top can be opened to let in a breeze.  This is what it looks like inside.  J got me this potter’s bench last year for Mother’s Day, and I love it.  The bench is where I do all of my gardening since another summer project that I haven’t yet done is to build some low tables for flats in the greenhouse.  My IL’s got me this planter a year ago and I love it.

I’m growing a lot of things in there.  Since it’s inside, it’s not subject to outdoor watering restrictions (but I’m trying to keep it to a minimum for water’s sake).  I have morning glories that I planted as seeds, which have since been transplanted out to the fence in front of the greenhouse.  They’re still alive but don’t seem to be growing a lot in the clay soil.  Still, I’m hopeful.  I’ve just noticed two that are sending out shoots to start climbing the fence.  I’ve got coleus from seeds that are being transplanted to individual containers, and hypoestes that I rooted from other plants.  I’ve planted seeds for carnations, violas of different kinds, ice plants, and some others for my fall hanging flower baskets.  I’m recycling the flats and containers from plants I’ve bought, so the hypoestes are in primrose containers and the coleus flats used to house petunias.

Even better, though, are the upside down tomatoes and peppers.  I’ve got two pepper (one red and one yellow, though I know the caption says green–that’s actually the red) and four tomato plants upside-down: two grape, one Big Boy, and one Roma.  The grape tomatoes have been producing for a month already (that’s an old picture–I potted them in February) and are great–they’re on our back deck.  The others were all in the greenhouse, though I think it’s too hot in there for them.  So I moved the Big Boy to the front porch along with the red pepper basket.  I saw a house that had upside down tomatoes a few years ago, so I decided to try.  With the soil here, it’s hard to grow veggies.  Plus, I’m anal about eating as much organic produce as possible and who knows what’s in the soil!  So I bought some organic seedlings, organic soil, and organic fertilizer, along with hanging planters that already had a hole in the bottom.  I took the seedlings and poked them through the hole, then covered them with soil and fertilizer.  And they’ve been great!  I’ve also got beans growing out on the back deck in containers, but I forgot to take a picture of them.  There’s a watermelon plant in the greenhouse that needs to be planted as well, but I still need to build the flat and fill it with soil before I can do that.

The only disappointing thing has been my flower garden.  At the end of February, we (read: both J and I, really!) spent a ton of time in the front garden, weeding and breaking in the soil and putting down topsoil, and then planting seeds and pre-grown flowers.  The entire area that’s not red in the picture was prepared and planted–I had a TON of seeds in there.  Ten days later, I had lots of seedlings germinating.  A week after that, we had a freezing spell that lasted for several days.  The grape tomatoes survived because we brought them inside and hung them on the shower curtain rods (it looked pretty redneck having plants hanging from our shower curtain rods).  The beans that were going then died (I’ve started new ones).  And probably 2/3 of the seedlings shriveled.  Those that didn’t were in stasis for months, and when they finally grew, only about half actually floweredThese were bought and planted.  I have some others near our mailbox, but J killed off several of those when he didn’t water while P and I were in Florida.  His excuse: "Oh, I thought you only wanted the ones in the greenhouse watered!"  I saved the others in the front garden, but the mailbox flowers didn’t fare so well.

Anybody still alive after that marathon?  Tune in tomorrow (or Sunday) for a post about our trip to Florida! 

June 20, 2007

8 years ago today

Posted in The musings of Erin at 9:29 am by Erin

I was just about to marry my love, my wonderful J.  We got married at 12:30.  It will always remain a day full of only wonderful memories for me.  It was everything I wanted it to be.  I know they say the wedding is only one day but I’m glad we put in the time and effort to make it so perfect.  It was the best beginning to a marriage ever.

(Pictures have been removed, but thank you all for your lovely comments!)

June 19, 2007

M@rtha Stewart Living…hardly

Posted in The musings of Erin at 1:37 pm by Erin

Though I do feel very domestic right now–I dropped off J’s dry cleaning, swept the downstairs, did two loads of laundry, and went grocery shopping.  Oh, and I’ve clothed, fed, and watered the Boy (a.k.a. P).  I’m Donna Reed!

So, you want some home and garden pictures, do you?  Do you really know what you’re asking for???  I just uploaded 23 pictures.  TWENTY-THREE!  Yipes.  OK, here we go.

*This is the point at which I last saved the post that took me AN HOUR to write.  Then, when I hit preview, it came up "Cannot Find Server", which was clearly a lie because everything else works.  And when I hit back, this was all that was left.  I’ll rewrite it soon, but we’re going to a Braves game tonight and I just can’t face it now.  The pictures are all up at my PCOS Baby Public pictures.  Feel free to go look and I’ll narrate later. 

June 18, 2007

Wahoo, I still have a job!

Posted in The musings of Erin at 2:23 pm by Erin

Thanks so much for all of your suggestions!  Since today is the first day of the Commentathon, I’m going to try to post at least 4 times this week.  Tomorrow I will post about the house and garden projects.  I may split that up, since there are five million gardening pictures.  Just to warn you, the "garden" that I’ve mentioned may not exactly live up to expectations.  A freeze after planting seeds and a drought with water restrictions don’t combine to do great things for growing gardens.

Happily, today I got GREAT news–my contract came for next academic year (with a small raise but small is helpful anyway)!  I knew I had a job, I wasn’t actually worried…but it’s still nice to have contract in hand.  I’ll sign it and mail it back tomorrow.  One of the things that concerned me was that we need to include letters about our jobs and benefits in our dossier, and my contract goes from August through May.  Technically and according to the state of Georgia, I’m unemployed for June and July.  So the letter that’s in there now says that I have no job.  BUT I can now get another one stating that my job and benefits start up again in August.  Phew!

Tomorrow, pictures.  Here’s one to tide you over from inside my greenhouse: 100_2770

June 16, 2007

Testing, testing…is this thing on???

Posted in The musings of Erin at 7:17 pm by Erin

It’s been forever since I last posted.  This may have been my longest ever blogging break–17 days.  I just feel an incredible malaise lately (plus, P and I were in Florida for a week).  Sure, some things have happened.  Our homestudy is officially done, we’ve submitted our I-600A to Homeland Security and received our receipt (no fingerprinting date yet), and we’re reading a million books about adoption and Ethiopia.  But it just doesn’t feel like much worth writing.  It’s just a paper process right now and doesn’t feel like there’s a real child at the end of it.  The homestudy did, at least at first.  We got to talk about having another son, which made it seem very real.  Now, we’re submitting paperwork about our bank accounts and letters from our doctor.  I know it’s important to someone, but it feels rather pointless to me.

Reading is helping.  We have five million books now about adoption in general, Ethiopia in particular, Ethiopian adoption, and children’s books that relate folktales from Ethiopia.  I’m pretty excited about those, and the more I read and learn about Ethiopia, the more I feel that this was exactly where we are supposed to be finding our son.  I knew we’d made the right decision, but it feels so right when I read these things.  Some of them are heartbreaking, and I often need to take breaks to think about what I’ve read, but it really helps to be doing something positive for our son–learning about his country and his culture.  Next up, music.  I can read a lot.  I can learn a ton about Ethiopia and the culture.  I can give our son those things.  But what I really want to do is learn some Ethiopian folksongs or lullabies.  I love to sing, and bedtime songs are something that only I get to do with P.  J can read stories every bit as much as I can, but songs are a special Mama and son time in our house.  I want to be able to do it with our younger son, and I would love to learn something that might be familiar to him, if only in language.

Lately, I’ve been composing "photo posts" in my head and with my camera.   Since I’m home for the summer and my greenhouse is finally finished, I have been doing some major gardening.  So I’ve a million pictures on that.  I can post about our trip to Florida, with some photo editing–12 hours each way alone in a car with a toddler wasn’t half as bad as I was anticipating!  I can show you some of the improvements I’ve been making on our home, since I always have a million projects going.  You can help me choose the colors for our son’s nursery!  I can tell you all about the books we’ve been reading, and which ones we like best.  Which one interests you most?  I need some votes on this, or it’ll be deathly quiet around here for a while longer.