Thursday, January 21, 2010

Once Upon A Time

The End

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Time to Play Tetris

When we last left the CrapShack, it was shaking a taunting fist at our attempts to remodel. Or at least that is what it seemed like to me. I think we have assuaged the house's demons with costly repairs and (crossing fingers) we can move on with the business of making our house a bit more livable.

That is where Tetris comes in, everyone knows the video game where you have to rotate the pieces until they fit and you can clear the board. Well we've been playing it unsuccessfully for the past two years. We've had furniture and stuff in places where they didn't belong. With the pieces in the wrong place, the board got too high and we were in danger of losing the game. In fact certain rooms looked like they needed the intervention of Niecey Nash and the Clean House crew.

The near completion of the basement (it still needs baseboards and I have to redo the bar but its 95% done) has enabled us to use it again. Which means:

We can move the love seat from the living room to the basement;

We can move the chairs still in boxes from the guest room to the living room;

We can move the majority of the toys from the living room to the basement;

We can move the craft table from the dining room to the basement;

We can move the dining room table back to its original position;

We can eat in the dining room again;

We can move the bed from the guest room to Bunny's room for her big girl bed;

We can move the dresser from the guest room to our room for more storage;

We can make the guest room into Lion's room;

We can move the glider from Bunny's room to Lion's room;

We can move the crib pieces from the office to Lion's room and set it up;

We can move Bunny's mattress to Lion's crib;

We can refinish the dresser in the office and move it into Lion's room;

We can move the various and sundry pieces of junk from storage to Goodwill;

We can put seasonal things into storage instead of in the corner and

Finally we can enjoy our house again! (Until its time to redo the bathroom. And the kitchen)

Monday, January 18, 2010




You are four.

It seems like only yesterday you turned three. I loved three. It was a crazy roller coaster ride of growing up. You were big and little all at the same time. It was wonderful. In the weeks before your birthday, I wanted to ask you not to turn four. I wanted you to stay three forever. I wanted to keep you in this perfect state, exactly as you are.

But I can't stop time. I can't ask you to stay the same. Its not fair to you. You have so much more to do, to learn, to see, to explore. Four is just the gateway. Four allows you to see the tantalizing possibilities that the future has in store for you.

You start kindergarten at four. You will go to the big kid's school. You will begin your education, your quest for knowledge.

You will be a big sister at four. You will no longer be the baby, the only. You will have an important role to teach little Lion all you have learned.

In a way you are more than four. You are fourteen, twenty four, forty. You are timeless and ageless. You are filled with wisdom and knowledge. You are a sponge soaking up everything around you. You are also a fountain, sharing your knowledge with those around you.

You are four, magical wonderful four.

(Note - Bunny's birthday was on the 14th. So in her words, she is almost five.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Grim Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a young couple. They were newly married and eager to start their life together. They wanted to buy a house so that they would have room for the family they wanted to start.

They searched high and low throughout the villages of Milwaukee and Wauwatosa. They looked at many houses but they could not find the right one. This one was too small. That one was too big. This one was in bad shape. That one was too expensive.

No house was just right.

They were very discouraged but they kept looking, knowing that they would find the house that was just right for them.

Finally they found it. It had the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms. It had a finished basement. It was the perfect house and there was much rejoicing.

However, the house was not perfect. It was an old house. It was a cranky house. The house was under a spell that masked its imperfections.

Once the couple moved into their dream house, the spell was broken and the imperfections were revealed. First the furnace broke in the middle of winter. Then the water heater died. The roof leaked. The electrical system needed updating.

The couple was discouraged but they persisted. This was their house and they would fix the problems. And they did. All was right with the house and there was much rejoicing.

Then the upstairs shower started leaking and could not be used. The couple had expanded their family to include a little girl. They needed to have two working bathrooms so they made plans to re-do the bathroom. And it was good.

The house, on the other hand, did not care much for the couple's plans. In fact, the house had nefarious plans of its own. It allowed water to leak into the basement, right into the area where the little girl liked to play.

The couple was sad, they could no longer use their finished basement. The house laughed at their sadness. Chaos ruled their lives for a while. The repairs took forever. First, leak was repaired. Then the walls were fixed. But it was still not done.

The couple was worried. Their family was expanding. A little boy would be joining the family very soon. They knew they had much work to do to make the house ready for him.

The basement problems were tackled once again. The ceiling tiles were replaced. The floor was torn up and redone. The couple could see the light at the end of the tunnel. They could envision their children playing in the newly remodeled basement. They were happy. There would be much rejoicing . . .

Then the furnace broke again and the couple was sad.

The house laughed at their sadness. The house mocked their hope. It shook its fist at their plans and cackled "I will never be done. I will never be fixed. You will spend your entire lives trying but just when the end is near, I will break something else. I am the CrapShack and those that live within my walls are destined to be sad."

To be continued . . .

Friday, January 8, 2010

Its Not Bribery, Its An Allowance

Every morning, its the same thing. All 60 wooden blocks are removed from their case. All the dinosaurs come out of their cave. The horses jump down from horse island. The legos are built into trees, parrots, dogs and whatnot. And it stays that way all day.

At breakfast, lunch, snack time and dinner the dishes are discarded on the table (or floor) as somebunny races back to play.

The ears are shut selectively, listening only when its something she wants to hear.

Its left to Frink and me to pick up the literally pick up the pieces.

Until now. On January 1st we instituted a new system. Bunny was given chores to do each day. She has to put her dishes in the sink. She has to help pick up her toys at the end of the day. And most importantly, she has to LISTEN.

If she does all of those things to our satisfaction, she gets a smiley face sticker on her chart for each chore. She also gets a nickel to put in her dinosaur bank.

Man does she love getting nickels. One night, Frink lost track of time and it was past bedtime. When he told her it was time to go to bed, she said no. At first he thought she was being sassy. Then she said "daddy, we have to pick up my toys so I can get my nickel".

Why didn't I think of this before?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

And Now The Wait Really Begins

Waiting, waiting and more waiting. That seems like all I've been doing and all I've been talking about. Waiting.

We are now officially waiting. We are waiting for a court date. Waiting for a court date that will finalize our adoption in Ethiopia. Waiting to pass court so we can get a visa date with the US Embassy. Waiting to get a visa date so we can schedule our travel. Waiting to schedule our travel so we can bring Lion home.

We are so tantalizingly close that I can taste it. I can visualize it actually happening. I can imagine what it will feel like to hold him in my arms, to touch his face, to tell him I am his mother.

This waiting is different. It has purpose. This waiting will actually result in me bringing my son home.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy in the New Year

Because that is what its all about.