Sunday, June 29, 2008

Weekend Ramblings

The pchaks X 4 have been very busy this weekend both at work and play.

Friday afternoon we took the kids to the Perry Outdoor Y. This place rocks. Our kids love the water, so we will be trekking out there often. They have the regular pools, but they also have a water play pool with a big slide and all sorts of things to climb on and a spray park. Both Reagan and Nolan loved the spray park area! I wish I had taken the camera, but I didn't know what to expect. I also needed to have my eyes on a kid at all times so it probably wouldn't have worked. Anyway, they donned their Alcatraz Swim Team shirts afterward and we went to dinner with Uncle Sam & Aunt Deb.
When we left the swim park, Bill commented that even while Nolan's hair was soaking wet, he could not see the scar. The child's resilience is amazing, but so were the skilled hands of his plastic surgeon. All I worried about during the surgery was the neurological part and making sure that was all going to be OK. I'm not going to lie, once we knew he was all good the thought of that snaking scar on my sons head freaked me out, but almost 6 months later there is no trace. Operation smoperation.

Saturday started off a bit low-key. The boys hung out and watched cartoons.

After lunch Reagan, Nolan and I went over to my moms to visit for a bit. They enjoy playing on her patio and she needed some cheering up as she is in considerable pain and is worried about the surgery on Wednesday. Leave it to R & N to put a smile on her face.

When we came home, Bill had spent considerable amounts of time and energy hacking away at the woods in our backyard. He has reclaimed about 12 feet of yard and it looks awesome. It is really starting to shape up and it appears that the poison ivy is under control for now.

The kids get more curls with each degree that the humidity rises. She is such a pistol. You can just see ornery written on her face. I love it!

Yes, that is a wife-beater our son is wearing.

Why, you ask?!

Why, he is practicing his Kid Rock impersonation! (Hey, his new song , All Summer Long, is darn catchy. I'm not a fan, but anyone that can sample Sweet Home Alabama and Werewolves of London in one song deserves props!)

Really, that was my shirt when I was a babe.

Why was I wearing a wife-beater?!

Who knows, but it is one of the few things my mom saved that a boy could wear so he did along with a pair of camouflage shorts. He pulled it off very well.

My boy, the rock star.

Sunday morning I woke up with a hankering for pancakes. There is place right down the street that I used to go to when I lived here as a teenager. Just a hole-in-the-wall bar in a marina that serves greasy fries and burgers. They do breakfast on the weekend and the sign has been taunting me for several weeks now. The kids woke up on cue and off we went. We were the only ones in the place at 8am, but I hear it gets pretty packed around 9am so we will make that our go-to spot when we can be out the door around 8am. The kids had fun and the pancakes were awesome.

Reagan is now into naming body parts. She knows eyes, nose, teeth, tongue, and belly button very well. Nolan does too, but he does not play the game like Reagan does. He points and moves on to something else. She points, tries to say the word, points again, pokes at you, etc.

He is still such a lover.

I guess we'll work on "ears" next.

They also had their 1st sucker after dinner. We'll let Reagan explain what she thought of it.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Our Watch Doe

She hangs out for hours in our woods. Bill grills dinner and she still sits there. The bears worked on the house and she watched. I bring the kids out to play and she stands guard. I feel bad for her, she doesn't have anywhere else to go, no place to run without fear of getting hit by a car. She can stay as long as stays out of my garden!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Smart, Smart Babies

Are 13 month olds supposed to understand cause and effect or if/then statements?

Ours do.

Last week when they have shown signs of being ready for a nap, I have said to them...."If you are tired and want to take a nap, please go to the stairs." You know what, they toddle right over to the gate and wait for me to open it so they can go upstairs. That is a lot of instruction for a 13 month old to follow.

First, they need to understand they are tired.

Then they need to know what a nap is.

Finally they need to follow the direction of "go to the stairs."

This week they have mastered the concept of going outside. They go to the correct gate, the one leading through the kitchen, when I tell them we are going outside or going bye-bye.

Yesterday I was tickling Reagan's belly and I showed her her belly button. She repeated it a couple of times "bel but" was about all she could get out, but that is what it is! She remembered this morning where the belly button was, but she had a shirt on and couldn't figure that one out!

We hung out at the beach today. Well our version of the beach sans sand. The baby pool inside the play yard with some toys and an umbrella. They had a great time.

Those lashes just kill me. Look at how they reflect on his cheek!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

That's A Wrap.....Almost

The bears are about ready to pull up stakes and move on out. I've really come to like foreman bear. Yes, he likes to drinky-drinky, but he is very precise at what he does. He has to work with the people Head Bear give him and, at times, that is difficult. Like yesterday. (you didn't think the bears could leave without another story, could you?) Foreman bears normal partners-in-crime were not around so some replacements were brought in. He gave instructions to them and sent them on their way to hang awnings and gutters. Now the one replacement bear, we'll call Charlie. As in Manson. He has some lovely ink smack dab in the middle of his forehead and his eyes go all wonky just like Mansons. He also walks around and talks loudly to himself. Charlie was charged with the task of putting the awnings back up over the bathroom window and the door that leads from our upstairs office to the rooftop patio above our 3-season room. My mom and the kids were in the backyard playing and I ran in the house to take a shower since I had just touched some poison ivy (please don't let me get it, please don't let me get it!) When I came back out, Charlie was measuring something over the sliding door on our 3 season room downstairs, no where near where he needed to be. I thought maybe while I was in the shower his assignment got changed and he was off the awning duty. Nope. He was going to hang an awning over that slider. Mind you it is more than double the size of the awning itself, but he had taken the time to measure the door, measure the awning, and figure out how to center it over the slider. Then he drilled 4 holes into the new siding to hang it. I have no idea at what point Foreman bear figured out what was going on, but quickly all the replacement bears were scampering into vehicles and high tailing it out of our yard. Foremen bear gets real quiet when he gets very angry because he calmly and quietly came to the door and said he sent everyone home and he'd be finishing up tomorrow with his regular crew. He explained what happened and that they would replace that siding tomorrow. You could see the disgust on his face. I just laughed. You knew something like this was going to happen.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Library Ladies

As you probably know, I used to work at a library system. It was my first job when I turned 16 and I stayed for 10 years. When I moved up as far as I could go at that time, I moved on. It was a super hard decision because I had made so many friends and it was a good, clean environment to work in. We also went out a lot and had lots of fun. We used to call ourselves the Bad Girls of the library. We might have been the stereotypical librarians by day, but at night...... look out!

Some of the library ladies still work at the old 'brary and some don't. Some have moved far away. Nancy, my former manager and good friend, was in town so I figured a Bad Girls Night Out was in order.

We met at the history-laden (for me) Panini's. This is where Bill DJ'ed when it was the Brickhouse and the infamous Ladies Nights took place. Guess my life turned out the way it did thank to all those free Malibu & OJ's I consumed. (I can't even smell the stuff now, but that is another story!)

It was so good to catch up and reminisce about old times. Many of us worked to bring a union to the library. While that was an incredible undertaking, we had a lot of fun doing it. It was good to look back on those fun and turbulent times. It is also ironic to find out that after all these years, some of the same stupidity is still happening! I guess as much as things change, they stay the same too.

It is safe to say that my formative years were spent with many of these women and my life is greater for having spent that time with them. I've made lifelong friends because of the library. I wouldn't know Kathy if it wasn't for the library. How empty and different (and sober) my life would have been! These are strong women. Cancer Survivors. Single Moms that worked two jobs to give their kids the best. Women that went to school, worked full time and raised a family. Smart, funny women. All women you want in your life.

I don't see them nearly enough.

Nancy (Grandma Nancy to my kids), Linda, Sandy

Mary Beth, Renee, Kathy, Michele

Colleen, Danny, & Evan (yes we let men that work(ed) at the library attend BGNO)

Miss Cheryl and the shortest glass she has ever seen

As the night grew longer, Miss Cheryl's drinks became shorter. It really is a short pour. Honest. Want to see me pour it back and forth into a glass!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Massages & Martinis

Sounds like fun, right? Well, it was. Kathy and I each had gift certificates to use for a local day spa so we got massages and I indulged in a pedicure as well. So nice. I also got a free mini-facial. They were trying to sell me a set of Aveda products (such a deal at $150 for 5 applications!) As the girl was putting on the firming cream for the lines she commented that I only seemed to have laugh lines and didn't need very much. Well, if that doesn't start a girls day off right! Not enough to make me want to drop $150 though. After the pampering we headed to Noosa Bistro for lunch and martinis. We entered the restaurant and were almost knocked over by the smell. It was a combo of fish and that cheap hotel odor. There were two tables seated and one guy at the bar. We asked to sit outside since that is where the $5 martinis are being served and it got us away from the smell. We debated leaving, but thought we'd give it a chance once we looked over the menu (and tasted our martinis). The food was good, but the place just misses the mark on what it is trying to be. I had a chicken flatbread sandwich with fontina, roasted red pepper and spinach. I subbed the frozen fries for homemade chips and was glad I did. Really why bother with the frozen fries?! The day wasn't about the food as much as it was about spending time catching up, reminiscing, and sharing some laughs. Neither of us drink that much anymore so a one martini lunch was enough to get us giggly. Of course, one wasn't enough for me and I drank my dessert in the form of a carrot cake martini. Hey, I wasn't driving. I had a great time getting pampering and spending the day with Kath, but the highlight was the tickle session the 4 pchaks shared in bed when I got home. We were all supposed to take a nap, but 2 of the 4 of us were not sleepy (guess which 2?) so we all got silly and had a fun time. What an awesome day!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

At Least I Wasn't Working There This Time.....

In 1998 I accepted what was supposed to be my "dream job." I left a perfectly good job and many friends to take a position with the Free Times. Leaving my other job was a hard decision and there was one hell of a going-away-party. The FT job had the potential of being a career and I had to make the move. I worked at that "dream job" exactly one week and a day. On day-on-the-job #6 I arrived at the office on Coventry Rd. (a totally cool place to work and the Winking Lizard was right downstairs) and discovered the computer system was shut down. When I tried to call the IT guy, discovered the phones were down as well. As people trickled in, rumors were flying. An hour later we assembled in the center of the writers room and the news was delivered. We had been bought out by the parent company of the Scene and we were, as of that moment, jobless. The Scene was "happy to interview us", but of course they could not absorb a whole staff, especially someone who had only had 6 days to prove her worth. According to the publisher, he was completely blindsided by this and would never have brought on new people knowing what was coming. Talk about feeling devastated. Now it has happened again. The shoe seems to be on the other foot since the publisher of the Free Times will take over the Scene. I'll be interested in seeing how the staffs blend. I still know some of the people at the FT. Hopefully they will all come out on top. Being a print writer these days isn't exactly a lucrative career move with every paper becoming smaller or disappearing. I'll be especially interested to see how they blend the food writers. Both pubs have very decent food writing. One, a Beard Award winner. If they both can't stay maybe one could take over the Wednesday Taste Section of the Plain Dealer. It leaves a lot to be desired as of late. In the end, the first buyout of the FT probably saved my life. If things had stayed the same I'd probably be in liver failure and would definitely not be married. Reagan and Nolan wouldn't be on this earth and chances are good that I wouldn't know most of you. In the 6 days I worked there I was out 3 nights. That was a slow week. I was having a great time and would have easily fallen into that scene. I'm not a country music fan or a religious zealot, but I did spend some time in Texas. When I think about what happened to me and my "dream job" I always hear the line from a Garth Brooks song ...."some of Gods greatest gifts are unanswered prayers."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Eye See You

Nolan had his 2nd visit with the Opthamologist today. We are happy to report that Nolan does NOT need glasses as of this visit!!!!! His astigmatism was very slight in one eye today and not enough to warrant glasses. We go back in a year to check on things. We just have two more follow-ups in July for his neck and head and we are off of doctors for good. Yeah right, I wish. I'm sure the pediatrician will be calling me soon to get them in for the MMR shot I am delaying. An update on what they are doing and saying these days: Nolan barks, hisses, gives hugs & kisses to dolls, climbs (but not as high as Reagan he has those short stuff legs to contend with). Nolan says momma & dadda, but is otherwise a man of few words at the moment. We have to work on keeping the paci out so he chats more. Reagan hisses, meows, moos, blows kisses, hugs her dolls, climbs up onto the couch. Reagan's vocabulary includes: Baby, keys, ball, Bob, Debbie, momma, dadda, kitty, cat although at times it sounds like she is saying a lot of things, I think it is just gibberish that we make into stuff.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

It Feels Good To Be Dirty

Get your mind out of the gutter!

I finally got a garden in!!!! It felt so good to play in the dirt. It is a different configuration for me, but I think it will work well. It is mainly peppers and tomatoes with a few herbs. Once the deck gets built and I relocate the herb garden (next spring) I will do some things differently, but for now it works!

Nolan played in the sand/water table (in typical Nolan fashion, he had to taste the sand first-yuck!) while I worked Reagan was asleep so the monitor was playing lullabies while I gardened. My how times have changed. Gardening used to be my quiet time, my therapy. I would think about my Granny Pike and my half-sister Kim and how much they loved their gardens. About how I used to garden with Granny when I was a kid and had no idea she would instill a love of homegrown, simple food in the little time we spent together. Kim and I were never close (long story for another time), but in the last couple of years of her life (died suddenly of a brain aneurysm a couple of years ago) we would IM about our gardens. We finally found a common ground and were building a relationship we had never shared before. Today my thoughts were on them, but they were also on the two little people that are going to help me garden; on how excited I am that I get to teach and pass things on to. It puts things in a whole new perspective.

Nolan, doing what he does best. Putting stuff in his mouth, even sand.
Since it was Father's Day, Bill got to do the things he wanted to do.....well, I guess that is not completely true. He spent the morning cutting down scrub trees and brush in our woods in order to get them off the phone line and in anticipation of the carpet bombing on the poison ivy in the woods that will take place this week. You know me, I don't like chemicals and don't use them on the grass, flowers, or garden, but in this case it is any means necessary to get rid of that nasty stuff. I have a hard enough time wrangling two new walkers without having to worry about them rolling around in weeds that are going to give them a rash.

Daddy's girl stealing his hat this morning!

We made Daddy breakfast, farm fresh eggs w/chives & bacon, hashbrown, leftover bread & cheese from dinner the night before. Yummy
We did get to Bar Cento for dinner with Uncle Sam & Aunt Deb. The kids sure love them. They squeal and get all happy when they see them. Sometimes Reagan will just shout out "Debbbbiiiieee." It is very cute.

On the way we stopped to see my Grandpa who is not looking so good. He will, if the surgeon decides he can handle it, have surgery soon to remove a couple of aneurysms behind his eye. If he doesn't have the surgery he will go blind in that eye. He is pushing 86, so either option is no fun. We also stopped at the cemetery to leave some flowers for my Dad. That is hard for me and I don't like going there. My Dad is not there. He is always with me. I just have to look in my sons eyes and there he is. Nolan is so much like his Grandad. He would have adored them both and it is a hard pill for me to swallow that they don't get to know him.

However, they love their Grammy beyond belief. The scream and squeal when we pull into her driveway and they hear her. That makes my heart happy and I know it does hers too. They will be the reason she recovers from her surgery so quickly. She needs to be with them and they need her too.

We've had some really decent food this weekend. We ended up at Blazin' Bills in Grand River on Friday due to a scheduling miscommunication for a birthday party. It was a good meal and an interesting time. There was a fight in the kitchen. I thought for a moment we had stepped onto the set of Hell's Kitchen, it was that loud. It escalated so much that the kids were getting a little freaked. They do not like raised voices. We were done eating so we quickly packed up and headed to the Headlands to drop of the gifts before a mega storm rolled in.

Kids first trip to the beach. They did not enjoy the sand on them.At Blazin Bills. I just love her expression.

Our funny boy finding a new use for a napkin.

Saturday, Ed, Angie and the kids came over for dinner. Ed humored me with St. Pat's cheese from Cowgirl Creamery and bread from On The Rise, which is THE BEST bread ever. Bill smoked a chicken, some pork ribs, and thai sausage. There is a cute house for sale on the other side of our street and we spent the night trying to convince them that they need to move to our 'hood. After taking a walk by it, I think if Ed would have had the checkbook he'd be moving in next week.

Anyone want to live near us? It is a really, really cute house.

Daddy and Nolan grillin' a burger on Mommy's latest garage sale find.

My dessert on Saturday night: Triple berry & basil in a puff pastry w/vanilla creme. I must say, it was pretty darn tasty. Next time I'll use a biscuit instead of puff pastry.
Sunday's sunset. The colors were just amazing.

To all the men in our lives that love Reagan and Nolan, we wish you a very Happy Father's day!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hip To Be Square

My mom finally pulled the trigger and scheduled her hip replacement surgery. July 2nd is the big day. Wish us all luck :-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Violet, You're Turning.....Violet

At the rate our dear Reagan is eating blueberries she will be off to the juicing room soon.

Thoughts For The Day

Never, ever feed a child black raspberries unless you intend to throw away the clothes they (and you) are wearing. ______________________________ The quick reference guide that cashiers use to check legal age for cigs & alcohol are the years you had your first cigs & alcohol. Grocery shopping has never been so depressing!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Nolan's Results

Nolan and I trekked down to the Clinic this morning for his surgery follow-up. Of course our ENT was the on-call ENT for emergencies today AND of course, there was an emergency 5 minutes before our appt. Nothing like turning what should have been a 10 minute appt into a 90 minute ordeal!!! At least they gave me free parking since we had to wait so long.

Anyway, the best news is that the "thing" on Nolan's neck was a "mature piece of cartilage" and "shows no signs of malignancy." While that was never in the forefront of my mind because our ENT was so sure it was an "accessory ear," there was still that little voice in the back of my head that wouldn't rest until we got the report.

He was a trooper and got another layer of skin glue applied and a new bandage that can come off in 5 days and then we can go swimming. In Reagan's words "Get Ready!" Uncle Sam & Aunt Deb.

We have 3 further follow-ups for Nolan. One for his astigmatism (both eyes) next week. Really not looking forward to having his eyes dilated again as I'm sure he is not either.

The other two follow-ups are in a month. One with the ENT and then a few days later with his plastic surgeon to take the "after" pictures of his head. I don't need to see the before shots. I came across some for a project I'm working on (shh.....don't tell Bill) for Father's Day and it made me cry. How was it possible that the doctor swore these pushed in temples and ridge down the center of the forehead were somehow going to correct themselves?

As a parent, we all think our kids are the cutest, smartest, etc. We never want to thing about the things that could be wrong, even if we know in the back of our head and heart that something is just not right. I am so thankful that I listened to that inner Mommy voice, otherwise my son would be a Klingon for the rest of his life. A a parent you have to be your child's advocate, you are their voice until they have their own. I am so glad I spoke up and didn't back down for him.

(this picture was taken the first time we ever looked at what would be come our new house.)

Here they are just the other day. Doing all sorts of climbing and playing just inches from where the above picture was taken.

Monday, June 9, 2008

It's what's for Dinner

...and lunch, and supper, and then lefties the next day. We're talking about a Monster Brisket, as big as a Buick.

(posted by Bill)

As most people know, I found Religion in a big way. Pork, and pork products. Naturally, I'm not referring to "the other white meat"*, that sawdust-textured crap that had me swear off the stuff for 20 years. People thought I was Jewish (which is funny, because most Jewish people I know eat pork as if it were Manna). Nothing beats kurobuta or heritage pork, with the right amount of fat in it. On a related note, Chef Jonathon Sawyer's (Bar Cento) wife Amelia posted this on her very creative blog, Chef's Widow (a rack of bacon?). If I was getting ink, this would be the tat:

Anyway, I'm normally loading the smoker up with pork. I did almost 30 lbs. for the kid's birthday party (along with two hams and 15 lbs of kielbasa), as well as doing the same for our Porsche Club wine tasting in back to back weekends. We also enjoyed a marvelous kurobuta pork butt at Fred and Linda's over Memorial Day, as well as rib tips with an Asian huckleberry glaze. So, depite the fact that there is no such thing as "too much pork", I would try a change of pace, and that means brisket for BBQ. Otherwise, we're simply grilling rib eyes, or skirt. So on Friday, we made a stop at Mr. Brisket. Besides some of the best pastrami and corned beef in town, they make this great thai sausage, and hot dogs. We loaded up on those items as well as this big ol' hunk o' beef.

I did a rub of black pepper, adobo, anchos, corriander, salt, cardamom and cinnamon. I left the brisket in the oven overnight at 200F (7-8 hrs), then in the smoker at about 200-225F for another 8 hrs. After burning through 30 lbs of charcoal and some chunks of mesquite, I wrapped it in foil and a towel, and placed it in an ice chest for the two hours before dinner (no ice-a cambro is a glorified ice chest. Insulation works in either direction, i.e., thermal transfer is thermal transfer. It reminds me of a joke about a thermos: "how do it know?"). I made a sauce out of the same spices used in the rub (plus brown sugar) in tomato sauce. There's a picture of the finished product in the post below.

The fat cap on this brisket really made the difference. I rendered over half of it away while cooking, and it still left a little fat on top. I didn't bother to trim it off before serving, as I figured everyone could determine how much of that fat they wanted to put into their diet (along with that spicy brown crust), LOL.

We also did some thai sausage (in a huckleberry glaze) served over sesame noodles , and some killer duck breasts served with an Asian chutney. They went too fast to snap a picture :-).

*That reminds me-Shelley's mom made us "city chicken" for dinner last week. I've always wondered how it got it's name. You'd think that it would be easier to raise chickens in the city than pigs. Case in point: the "Animal Detective" shows on The Discovery Channel always show the New York Animal Control officers battling cock-fighting rings (which to me seems like the Hispanic equivalent of Neck-Car)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weekend Ramblings

So much to say, but I'll try to be brief....LOL

The HB Bears saga CONTINUES. The air did get fixed on Friday, thank God. This pertains to the roof leak they apparently fixed after they did our roof in the fall. BEEP. WRONG ANSWER.

I had some baby clothes in the garage that I needed to put away. I discovered they where wet from were the roof leaked all over them after the big rain we had a couple of days ago. Yeah, not a happy camper.

Bill called Head Bear because I was so mad, I could not even speak. (wow, we found something to shut me up!) He came right over and eventually found the leak and allegedly fixed it. He also bought us a new chimney cap "free of charge" and installed it while he was up there. They have to come back and do some drywall work in the garage because it has started to mold. Great, more time with the bears. They might as well park a trailer in the driveway for the summer.

It was kind of funny because while he was working, we were having a dinner party. Nonny Linda, Granpda Fred, Aunts Jan & Deb, and Uncles John & Sam were over to see the kids and bring us dinner. (of course Bill had to smoke meat as well ;-) Every so often he'd peer in the living room window as he would go up and down the ladder. I didn't feel bad for one moment.

Here's some food porn from Saturday for you.

Wouldn't you like to be one too?

Brisket as big as your head! It was outstanding.

On Friday we took a ride out to DeBonne Winery for the annual Balloonfest. Kind of an oxymoron the last couple of years since no hot air balloons seem to ever go up due to "weather conditions."

Our neighbor came with us and the kids adore her. Nice to have an extra set of hands now that both Reagan and Nolan have pretty much mastered walking. We were seating on a hillside so that is why I say pretty much. They took a few tumbles, but had fun rolling anyway.

Nolan got to hang with his girlfriend, Aunt Deb.

Reagan made a new friend, Michael. I love this picture.

There's our funny boy doing what he does best. Laughing.

Sunday, the Hartridges were in town and it is always good to catch up with them. Wish we could do that more often. All the kids are growing so fast and I miss having them around. We sure had a lot of fun times when they lived here.

Here is Nolan enjoying his tent & tunnels

(our son the tunnel rat)

Reagan having fun with Uncle Bobaboey

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I Can't Even Make This Up

You remember that seeing-red-angry feeling I spoke about a few days ago when the HB Bears made it snow in my house? It happened again tonight. I've had that feeling maybe three other times in my life and I've now had it twice in 6 days. Let me rewind a bit to tell a funny aside before getting to the heart of the what has my ire up now. Yesterday I ran out once Nolan got settled into a nap to get his prescription filled. On the way home I stopped at our local Convenient Food Mart for some to-go withs for dinner. As I pulled into the lot there is Head Bear & Foreman Bear getting out of a truck. When I left the house they were busy doing siding and cleaning up from the insulation. They see me pull in and kind of share a laugh. I know what they are going shopping for and it is not potato salad. Foreman Bear walks into the store in front of me and grabs a bag from the counter and walks to the back of the store..... to Ta-da.....the beer coolers. I just had to laugh that he thought he was being all sneaky and I wouldn't know what was in the bag. When I got home I told Bill the story and he said he knew they had beer because Foreman B was walking around with the bag (that by this time was wet from the sweat of the bottles and the plastic was sticking to it so you could see right through it.) Whatever. If it makes them work faster........ The plan was for them to finish up the back & north sides of the house on Wednesday and then go do another job and come back next Tuesday. That is fine since I figured Nolan could use some quality naps with no construction noises for the next couple of days to get healed up. They were actually getting a lot done and what is done looks very nice so we were all getting along. We joked about them getting out of our hair for a few days, they thanked us for the hospitality (LOL), and off their little van sputtered leaving a puddle of oil as a thank you. Fast forward less than 24 hours..... Around 6:30pm we decide to put the air conditioning on. It was really humid (see Reagan's hair in my previous post to prove it!) I took Reagan P. upstairs to give her a bath (Nolan is not allowed just yet) and I ask Bill if the vents were open because it was still steamy, smoking hot upstairs. I thought maybe the vents got closed when the insulation was flying last week. He checks and says they are all open and he feels air. Um....yeah, sure, but I wasn't going to argue. We put the kids down about 7:30p and I see Bill outside looking at the A/C unit. He comes in perplexed. Something from the compressor is missing. LIKE THE PART THAT MAKES THE AIR COLD. Apparently when the HB Bears moved the A/C unit this week part of it never made it back! Bill calls Head Bear and within 10 minutes Foreman Bear shows up. By this time the kids are so hot they can't even sleep and I've got them back downstairs just to get out of the stifling heat. Bill comes in and says FB is going to the store and will be back. In the meantime we get another fan going in the kids room, strip them down to their diapers, and read them a couple of stories to calm them down. I go into the upstairs bathroom (the A/C unit is just below) and I hear Bill tell FB that "It is a good thing Head Bear's company is insured because if our house burns down tonight we'll just sue him." WTF? FB mumbles something in that incoherent speak we all have spoken before. Drunk talk. This guy is f'ing wasted and he is working on electricity at our home and he is going to rig something up for tonight. Oh no, he is not! Cue the redness. I go downstairs and calmly (amazing, I know) tell Bill to ask him to stop and not waste all our time and then I call Head Bear. I tell him that Bill has been more than fair, but I am at the breaking point and have had enough shenanigans and that tomorrow morning I will be stopping payment on the check we gave him for the completed insulation job if this is not fixed first thing in the morning. PROPERLY. BY SOMEONE THAT IS NOT INTOXICATED. He is getting all flustered (Paula made him cry when they worked on her house and did some questionable stuff) and says he is pulling up in front of the house now. He doesn't know I'm standing in the kitchen window and he comes around the corner and tells FB that I just called him and was "really mad." Damn skippy I am mad. My son is up there with gauze and tape (that 2nd skin stuff) all over his neck, he is hot and uncomfortable and I can't do much about it since he doesn't even want me to hold him. I told him it was very nice of FB to come over and try to help us (I realize he will be finishing up the siding next week so I have to be careful here), but his solution is not safe (hell, even Bill thought it was questionable so it must have been bad.) I said if it were just Bill and I it would not be a big deal, but when your f-ups make my kids uncomfortable that is when I have a problem. In no uncertain terms I told him I was sorry we agreed to have them do this work. I told them Bill has been very nice (good cop/bad cop....we do it well), but I was done and now I was going to be a bitch. Blah, blah, blah. When they left, I asked Bill if he thought I had been too mean. Really, I don't like being mean to people. I'm a lover, not a fighter. He said no and I think he really meant it. Not that patronizing-husband answer he thought I wanted to hear. Maybe I wasn't mean enough, HB didn't cry for me!

Doing Well

Thanks again for all the thoughts and prayers.

Nolan and I were very thankful to have Aunt Jan & Uncle John at the hospital to help us out. They were a big help to Mommy in her attempts to make Nolan comfy after surgery. 1 angry flailing baby, 1 glass bottle of pedialyte, graham crackers and an IV in the foot would have been difficult for Mommy to handle on her own.

Nolan and I got home after 1pm yesterday and he was a little out of sorts, but by dinner was ready to go. He ate his current fave mashed potatoes and city chicken and was ready for bed. It was a long day for everyone.

He seems to be doing well today and is on straight Tylenol. We gave him the Tylenol with codeine last night just to be sure he wasn't in pain for the night.

They are going to have an indoor play today (rainy and stormy today) so they will get to try out one of their birthday presents, the Hide and Seek Combo (thanks Sam, Nate, & Isabella!)

Here is Mr. Happy (that is what his shirt says) playing on the toy that causes the most problems in our house. Reagan was sitting on it last week and Nolan reached over and pulled her hair to try to get her to move. She pushed him away and he fell. They both got a stern "that was not nice talk" and the toy went bye-bye for the rest of the day. You can see his bandage peeking over the shirt collar.

Reagan is a very cautious walker and she has excellent balance. Here she is bending to pick up a toy and then going on her merry way. Check out the curls. It is SO humid today. Guess they couldn't avoid the humidity hair, between Bill and I they will probably look like Monica Geller in "The One In Barbados".

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Who Would You Google?

Out of the blue an old friend of Bill's called on Tuesday. It has been probably 15 years since Bill last spoke to Bill. Just one of those drift apart kind of deals. His name often comes up in conversation, especially when the drinks are flowing and the talk is about the good old days. He was before my time but I feel like I know him. I gave him Bill's number and they spent some time catching up. I am really happy for Bill. There are certain people in your past that you always wish you had kept in touch with, but more often than not it gets pushed to the bottom of the list and you never do it. (Bill adds:) My friend's medical career took him out of state. He was also a skilled army reservist. We assumed that, when the War broke out, he'd be in some spider hole waiting to pull someone's bacon out of the fire, and then we kind of lost touch. It wasn't until Google started making people findable (if they're on the 'net) to search again (this was demonstrated when the VA was able to locate me when my father, who had dropped off the grid a long time ago, was ill). Sam found a possible link to our friend last year, and we had talked about sending out a feeler to see if that was him. Of course with the twins, and everything else that's gone on in the past year, it's one of those things that I (regretably) never got around to doing. In the mean time, he found me. With all of my activities (Porsche Club, professional, cooking, etc.), I have a fairly large electronic "footprint". I am happy that Bill was able to pull the trigger on that. It is great to hear that he is doing well, having retired not only as a decorated veteran, and medical pro, but as a police officer. The irony is, he went on to culinary school! We used to talk about "recipes", but not beurre blanc! Talking about Top Chef or Gordon Ramsay would never have crossed my mind. I am hoping that we will get to see each other soon. -bp It got me thinking about who in my past I'd want to get back in touch. Fortunately I keep in touch with a lot of people so my list is pretty short. There is one girl I was friends with in 1st grade. She had the best swimming pool. She moved to California and I never heard from her again. I'd like to know what her life is like, so Beatrice Uljanic if you are out there, drop me a line. Who would you want to be back in touch? What is stopping you from trying to find them? Go ahead, goggle them, I dare you! Let me know what happens.

You Gotta Go!

"'s time for you to leave you've worn out your welcome it's time for you to go." -Mighty Mighty Bosstones*
(posted by Bill)
No joke-the Clinic said "Enough!", and has sent mommy and Nolan home. They are on their way, and Nolan is hungry. They could've caught a bite at Table 45 while they were there. *our friends in Abby Normal and the Detroit Lean do a killer cover of this and other ska nuggets

That was Quick.

(thank God).

(posted by Bill)

Just got a call from John. Nolan is already out of surgery. Dr. Krakovitz said it only took about a half hour (plus the hour to gently put Nolan under), and it ended up being close to the surface. He sent it to pathology, but it appears to be cartilege (affirming his "accessory ear" hypothesis). He's a little groggy, but mommy is in giving him something to eat. He will be able to come home today! He may be cranky for a few days, but he will be at home recuperating!

I'll let Miss Reagan know when she wakes from her morning snooze. After her breakfast of cinammon toast and banana a la minute, and most of a bottle of milk, Reagan P. enjoyed a casual (but normal) day of playing, watching Super Why and Grandpa Fred (Griffith) on Good Company Today, she went right to sleep for her nap.


Surgery started. John & Jan are here, or as John said on my voicemail "Your coffee delivery service is here!" They are just too kind. Nolan was very happy to see them. They played for a few minutes before we had to go to the OR. We popped down to the cafe for a bite right now. Nolan was a charmer even while they were putting the mask on him. It was difficult since he wanted to chew it! Hopefully we will hear something in a hour or so.

All Checked In

It is 7am and we are all checked in. However, Wednesdays are staff meeting days at the Clinic and she said we really didn't need to be here this early since he is not scheduled until 8:40am. I was just following what they told me on the phone so I didn't give him anything to drink this morning, but the nurse said he could have some apple juice since we have at least 2 hours before he is actually "under." There is a nice play area that Nolan is currently "playing" in.....meaning he is taking out every toy and then moving on to the next one...... It is hotter than hades in this place. more later.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Back To The Reason It Was Started

I guess tomorrow the blog will go back to the surgery update center. Nolan and I have to be at the hospital at 6:30am. yikes. Daddy and Reagan are going to hang at home. My mom has to take Grandpa for an important appt (the doctor requested that a family member come with him so I don't think it will be good news.) She will come over after that appt and if we need Daddy at the hospital, he can come and join us then. Hopefully it will be in and out, but we won't know until after they get in there. As always, your thoughts and prayers are appreciated. I'll be checking in tomorrow or Bill will update from home.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Hillbilly Bears

Once upon a time there was an ugly yellow and brown house. It looked like an old school Arby's. The owners, Bill & Shelley, decided to go with a nice new grey siding with darker grey trim. Estimates were sought and a local company (we all know that Bill & Shel like to keep their money local) presented a very good price so they were hired.

Little did they know they just hired the Hillbilly Bears to work on the house.

....cue the Sandford & Son theme song.....

Last Monday a dilapidated red van pulls up to the house and out come the Hillybilly Bears. I can not even begin to explain the myriad of issues we (I) have had with this crew. We previously used this company to do our roof in the fall and they did a nice job except for cleaning up the nails after the job was over. I told them before we hired them for this job that I expected the nails and screws to be cleaned up every night since the kids are outside playing now. It was not going to be an issue.

Day #1 of construction (mostly destruction) ends. The next morning I go to take the garbage out and this is what the back steps look like.

Nails and screws strewn about. I call Bill. He calls Head Bear and tells him. Says OK they will bring a magnet and clean up.

Day 2- There is a voluptuous blond woman on the crew now. My mom asked if she was Tim the Toolman's sidekick. Probably, although she works pretty darn hard. On this day it is brought to our attention that we have no (as in zero) insulation in this house. Do we want them to do this while they have the siding off? We debate and decide it is a good idea since we are so close to the lake and the winds really kick through the house in the winter.
On this day I notice one of the Bears spending some time in our woods. Just marking his territory I guess. Totally gross and Head Bear will hear about this as well.


It gets better.

After they "clean up" for the day, I look outside and on our back step is an unopened beer can. Before jumping to conclusions I ask Bill if he happened to take a beer outside since it is his flavor.


If I wanted to hire men that drink on the job, I'd easily give the job to Bill and Sam!!!!

Head Bear is not too happy with this report, but kind of mumbles something along the lines of "boys will be boys" type talk. WRONG ANSWER.

Day 3- A new bear joins the crew, I call him Smokey. The world is his ashtray. I finally told him that one of the kids had breathing problems and he needed to smoke in the driveway instead of standing on the ladder and blowing smoke INTO my house. The bear-mobile is also leaking oil in the driveway, but I let this one go. For today.

Day 4- Last Friday. They are going to begin blowing the insulation. They wear no protective gear (why bother when you have a cancer stick in your mouth every 5 minutes, I guess.) They start at the back of the house near our kitchen sink. I'm in the dining room and for some reason turn to look and it is snowing in our kitchen. THE INSULATION IS BLOWING IN THE HOUSE! I panic. The kind of anger creeps in that OJ probably experienced as he killed Nicole and Ron. I am literally seeing red, with white flecks of insulation falling in front of me. I can feel my throat start to get dry and my eyes start to burn. Bill is working from home that day to keep an eye on the bears (I'm sure he was sick of me bitching about them so he needed to see for himself.) I start to yell at him to tell them to STOP.

The foreman bear walks in the house and says "Gee, I only ever seen that happen once in 20 years. It's non toxic though."

Great. Thanks for the input. Who is going to clean this shit off my curtains, cabinets, appliances, etc?!?

I storm upstairs and start gathering clothes, necessities and toys for the kids. I am done. At this point they have gotten about a 15 minute nap and they are due at the hair salon in less than 2 hours for their first haircuts. I am not going to have their little lungs filled with the crap.

I tell Bill I am checking into a suites hotel and we will return when the construction is over. Maybe. That is how mad I was. I just wanted my kids out of dodge.

While this is going on Bill tries to call the Head Bear. Repeatedly. We later find out that he has lost his cell phone.

I load the kids , get them some food and go to my Mom's house. We sit on her patio and enjoy some peace, quiet, and insulation-free air.

Bill calls and says they have continued to work their way around the outside of the house and no more insulation has come in. It was a fluke in the kitchen and he was sorry. I was sorry too. I really lost it for a few moments there and just went into some bizarre survivalist-mommy mode. Get the kids out, that was all I could see. I was like the Terminator looking for Sarah Connor.

As of today, the insulation is finished and they can pick up with the siding. I can only hope that goes quickly and with no more issues. I need these bears out of my life. I need to get a garden in and all their stuff is all over my yard.

Anyway, this is what the siding will look like when it is done. The grey on the left. The old stuff on the right looks cream in this picture, but it is really an awful yellow.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

She Walks!

We knew Reagan wouldn't be too far behind Nolan. It is monkey see, monkey do in this household. And she is off...... Reagan and Nolan are just little sponges these days. They are soaking up things left and right and getting it!!! Yesterday Reagan made a hiss sound. I told her that is what the snake says. Today I asked her if she remembered what the snake said and she sure did. I got a great big HHHHIIISSSS. Most kids moo or meow first. Not my daughter. Nolan is picking up on this one as well. Nolan and my mom play catch a lot and today I asked him to go get me the ball. Sure enough he looked all around the room until he saw it and went over and scooped it up. They also give each other hugs. You tell them to give hugs and they get close and say "ahhh." That is just the best. Nolan is working on kisses, although it is more like a fish pucker, but that is my fault since I'm teaching them what the fishy says. I am in awe when I ask them where their feet are and they look down, or when they hear a plane and I tell them to look in the sky..... and they do . When we leave their room, you tell Nolan to turn off the light and he does it. Just growing up too fast!