Monday, April 30, 2012

Breaking up is hard to do

My grandmother Mana used to sew a lot. So to help her out, my grandfather made my grandmother a button box. After she died, it was passed along to me. But the button box ended up fully submerged in our Great Flood of 2009. We dried it out but honestly it's been messed up, dusty in a way I can't seem to clean, and slightly smelly ever since. It's time for me to toss the box.

Most of the buttons were either rusted or a little bit moldy, or in the case of the leather buttons, just messed up. I sorted the buttons and kept the really cool ones that weren't ruined. 

I hate losing something like this. I always felt like it connected me to my grandparents and helped me see where I get some parts of me. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Every breath you take

I have even more good news to report this week. I feel quite selfish to be hogging all the good news, but there you go. God knows, I've shared plenty of bad news here. This should make a refreshing change.

I saw my doctor today to get the word on all the tests he’d run and to figure out next steps. Readers, I have zero allergies. Not a one, not even ragweed. Amazing! Even more, he thinks that I don’t have asthma proper but rather that my lungs had a big ol hissy fit over all the particulate matter in my living environment. (I suggested maybe I had delicate diva-esque lungs; he laughed over that description and said quite possibly so.)

What that news means is that I haven’t damaged my lungs—hurrah! Plus I can dial back the maintenance inhaler and may be entirely off it altogether—double hurrah! I’m to continue using my peak flow meter to track things but even that may stop.

I have only ever had serious breathing issues in Germany and here in Boston. Both environments have more air pollution than Kansas City. Guess my delicate dainty lungs do not want any crap in the air, thank you very much.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Immovable object

My suitcase has been in this spot since I brought it home from the repair shop yesterday afternoon. Wally has been on it almost the entire time since then.

These pictures span 6:11 AM through 9:12 AM today. He's still there, snoozing away.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pizza of mixed emotions*

Last week I received a job offer from a company in Overland Park, Kansas (map here). Last night I accepted the offer and I start May 14 (gulp).

I’m excited about being employed again (you should have seen me dancing around the apartment last week), and I’m tickled to be returning to the Kansas City area. The job is squarely in my field and should remain that way, unlike my last job. Plus the company is very stable, also unlike my last job.


 But I am sad to leave Boston.

I’ve learned a lot about myself (holes in my walls and ceilings no longer scare me), Kent and I are even closer which I wouldn’t have thought was possible, and we manage money now like no one's business (comes from mostly one income in a very high cost of living area).  More than that, though, I’ve made some really good friends here. While leaving the apartment will be easy-peasy, leaving these friends just flat sucks.


I kept in good contact with my KC friends while I lived here so I'm confident I can do the same thing with my Boston friends. It's just hard because so much of what we've enjoyed is the ease of hanging out that comes from an urban environment. Our friends pretty much all live within blocks of each other so getting together never involves anything more than a 15 minute walk and perhaps a stop at the liquor store for a bottle of wine. I will miss that a lot.

*Sunday night I posted on Facebook that Kent and I were having pizza of comfort for dinner. A friend asked me via private message what that meant so I told her I was considering this job offer. When I posted a link to the Kansas City song  last night, she commented pizza of mixed emotions.

Monday, April 23, 2012

But I really, really want to

Kent and I end up incorporating silly phrases in our day to day language. I guess it’s sort of like having a private language, although we’re not trying to be exclusionary. But we’ve done it with things Alison’s said (I hold you now! or Oh my goodness!). This week, we've been using a phrase from our nephew, Schuler.

I mentioned before that he’s got very precise diction—he says yes, not yeah, and uses complete sentences to ask for something he wants. What he usually wants is to play with someone’s cell phone, specifically the games. So he’ll say “May I play with the phone, please?” If the answer is no, then the corners of his mouth head south in a hurry, the tears well up and he’ll say in the most plaintive voice ever “But I really, really want to!” If the answer continues to be no, he’ll keep saying that over and over and add in more tears and crying. Because it’s not my child, I thought it was pretty cute. 

The other night I wanted pizza again—so I used Schuler’s tactic with Kent because he’s the one who makes that particular pizza. And it worked! It worked quite well. We spent the rest of the weekend using that phrase and laughing ourselves silly.

Amy, if you’re reading this, I think it’s cute. I’m sure it drives you nuts and next time I see you, I’ll try not to say it around you. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Upward dog, downward dog

Reclined cat.

He's on a yoga block, near yoga mats.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's a start

I trotted about a mile this morning. I had to walk about half a block x2, but otherwise I trotted. I took the first break because I was wheezing a little; I took the second break because I had the more normal for me feeling of not enough air. The really good news is that my peak flow reading was the same post-run as it was pre-run. Now that is real progress.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Missed you

We had an informal open house today to celebrate our new floors (before anything bad happens). As it turns out, we already have another leak—no I’m not kidding. Our room off of the closet formerly known as the smelly closet has a leak from the pipe that leads to the outside faucet. Kent just turned that faucet on yesterday for the nice neighbors who maintain the little garden near our window. Fortunately he had to go back in there today and discovered the leak and fortunately we don’t need Nasties or Ferals help in turning that water source off. So it’s off and it will be attended to this week. Still—ironic, no?

Anyway. Here are some pictures from before our open house started:

See the pipe that caused
all the problems?

The spread.

Chloe is dying of anticipation. 

Notice the new floors. 
Now Kent is on a plane to Detroit and I’ve already tidied up from our party. Back to the normal routine (hopefully the normal dry routine). 

Friday, April 13, 2012


My lungs are doing much better; instead of registering at about half of what I should on the peak flow meter, I'm averaging 87%. I call that real progress and I think I'll be able to start running trotting soon. I’m sure it’s going to be quite painful and discouraging at first—it’s been about a year since I really ran. But that’s OK, if I don’t start, I will never get back to where I was.

I got this bracelet a few months ago, before I had the rude awakening about the state of my lungs. When I run, I have only a key for the house. I don’t run with a phone or an MP3 player and since I live in Boston, I’m running in a lot of traffic. So I got this RoadID bracelet. It’s got my name, city, emergency contact name and phone number, and known allergies on it. Right now, it sits in the cool box you see, just waiting for the day I can start running again. Soon, little bracelet, soon.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Garbage in, garbage out

Dear City of Boston,

Why must you make trash pick-up so difficult?

When we moved here, I was initially delighted that our trash is picked up two times a week. That’s especially important since almost no one has a garage so storing trash between pick-up days could get both smelly and difficult. Not to mention, we live in the city and there are rats, both human and otherwise, who like to dig through the trash.

But now our condo association received a fine from you because apparently you have regulations about what kind of trash bags we must use—and we have to use different bags for trash and for recycling. (Don’t get me started on how you no longer provide recycling bins. Even Kansas City, that so called cowtown by your standards, provides recycling bins AND handy charts showing what can go in them to people who move there. Big fail on your part, Boston.) Apparently our trash bags must either be the big black bags or they must be a certain thickness. And the recycling trash bags have to be clear. I guess that’s so the homeless people who tear open our trash to dig out recycling can see exactly what it is they are digging for.

So we’ll be double bagging with our white bags that fit our tall kitchen trash can—the large black bags would never fit in our can and I refuse to throw away perfectly good trash bags because you need money. And since we scoop cat litter every day and don’t want that smelly stuff in our house, we’ll have to find a way to store it out on the patio until it can be tossed in our double bagged regular trash.

As for recycling? The day you take it seriously and quit letting your trash haulers just toss it in with the regular trash is the day I’ll bother sorting the few cans we do get.

I won’t hold my breath.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More randomness

I love our new floors. I confess, I was not at all positive that the unstained (finished) maple would work here. I’m happy to report I was wrong—they look fantastic and add more light to the apartment. Also I like the wider planks.

The dark Billy half height book cases from Ikea mock me now. I may need to paint them. We’ll see. I may need to have my head examined too.

Did I mention we ordered perennial ferns to plant in the patio this year? We got tired of buying pricey annual ferns. Of course, Boston can get hard freezes until about the middle of April so the baby ferns have been hanging out in a cardboard box. We set them outside for some dim light when the weather isn’t wretched and bring them in when it gets cold again.

I forgot to flip my perennial calendar to April this year. So I didn’t get a card sent to my dad and I also had it in my head that Eliot’s birthday was April 14. Really it’s April 11. I think I got fixated on the 14th because of the Titanic stuff all over the internet.

The cats hated being kenneled at the vet’s last week. They’ve been home five days and the boys still cry a lot and need massive amounts of lap time. Chloe is an unflappable champ. Nothing rocks her world. The only change she’s made is she’s been sleeping all night at my left shoulder. That’s her only sign of insecurity. I wish I could say the same about the boys.

And now I need to finish the dress for Alison and the matching dress for her doll. I sound so very domestic, don't I?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Whatcha watching?

I keep all my little videos of our cats and stuff around the apartment on YouTube (all 95 of them), and of course all my pictures are on Google Picassa. For some reason—and I’m not entirely sure why—younger children like my niece and nephew absolutely love seeing both the videos and all the pictures.

Now the videos are nothing special and they’re all quite short. Most are between about 30 seconds and a minute. Almost all involve the cats doing their normal cat things. The pictures are similarly nothing spectacular: a picture of our patio, a tomato plant, the ruined floors (x3), the cats, the cats, the cats, etc. But kids love them.

The rubber ducky video I posted last month? Schuler has watched that one probably a dozen times. I’m not exaggerating. He asks for that one specifically and prefers I replay it when it’s over. He also loves one where Wally jumps in a box and then jumps back out. The kid is obsessed with those videos. Rayna likes the videos but loves the pictures more, especially the ones that include her cousin Alison.

This isn’t peculiar to my nephew and niece. Alison is the same way. So I don’t know what I’ve done with my silly little videos and very ordinary pictures, but they hold great entertainment value for these kids.  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Don't crack your coconut

When Kent was a little boy, his grandfather would tell him that when he started roughhousing around. Now we say it to each other whenever one of us bonks our heads. And yesterday I used it with my nephew.

Schuler is three years old, and pretty articulate for his age (for example: he says yes very carefully and doesn’t say yeah). Last night he made a catalog for me of all his various owies and not two minutes later, he bonked his head on a piece of furniture. So I said “Careful! You don’t want to crack your coconut!” He latched on to that phrase like crazy. He told me probably seven times that he didn’t have a coconut, and he hadn’t cracked it anyway. Then he decided he bumped his coconut. I’m doing a really poor job conveying his earnestness and how very serious he was in telling me all about his head.

Well about an hour later, he and his sister Rayna completely bonked heads together. I mean it was probably a stars-inducing head bonk. They both had tears in their eyes and then he told me with quivering lips that maybe he’d cracked his coconut. My sister and I giggled over how he said that most of the night. We'll see if he's still concerned about his coconut today.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Let me ‘splain

Things have gone from bad to worse to just bad again with Mr. Feral regarding our current water damage. In an unexpected, very last minute development, his plumber will be in our home this morning, supposedly tracing out the pipe that leaked and capping it off. We’ll see if that actually happens—we made the offer to allow access to our home over a month ago but Mr. Feral didn’t move on it until Friday. We've also made it clear that we'll cover the ceiling repair costs but not anything having to do with his pipe. I suspect his plumber may think that we are going to pay for today's work. We are most definitely not paying for that work.  

Our own reconstruction starts Tuesday. We’ve signed our contract, sent deposit checks, and the floors were ordered and are ready to be installed. Bostonian will start with the walls, which should be about a three-day job. The job itself doesn't take three days (we don't have that large of a place) but the mudding compound has to dry. The floors are supposed to be replaced beginning Thursday and that part should be done by the close of business Friday.

I leave for Denver this morning, and I’ll get home Friday night. Even if Bostonian has to come back on Monday, that work shouldn't kick up construction debris into the air, so I should be OK to return.   

My lungs continue to improve, although I will confess I get impatient for faster progress. I'm holding steady at about 80—85% of where I’m supposed to be on the peak flow meter. Still, I’m really happy about that and hope that once all this construction is done, I will get all the way back to normal. You might already know how competitive I am, so I’m slightly driven to see that improvement.

On an unrelated note, I actually won something from one of my favorite sewist bloggers. Carolyn has a truly impressive stash—one I couldn’t duplicate ever because our apartment is so small—but even she reached her limit. She’d found some fabric that just didn’t do it for her anymore and offered them to her readers. Long story not so long, I won a piece! I love to read her blog because she’s absolutely fearless in what she makes and doesn't hesitate to take a pattern into a very different direction based on what she's creating. Sometimes I get a little too fixated on how a pattern is supposed to be rather than considering how it should be for me. She inspires me to take that step.