Saturday, October 23, 2010

Now with pictures

I hesitate to post these, since they seem so depressingly unchanged, but behold, our house after two months of renovation:

The kitchen will be to the right of that wall.

Our bipolar house. Half the time it's solid brick, the other half it's crazy window time.

This part looks better.

This part too, although I think the main attraction is external.

Here's Si's room. He doesn't really get why we're dragging our feet on the move-in.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The opposite of fall

For sundry and assorted reasons, none of which, unfortunately, have to do with moving back into the house (an event that remains depressingly lodged in the future), I have not felt up to posting. I still don't, really, but I am tired of staring "Doggy Bags" in the face every time I open up this blog.

In the blogless interim, however, I HAVE felt up to doing other things, including but not limited to:

1. Sanding down assorted bedroom doors. Our house has very nice, solid wood doors. The previous owner had very anxious, insistent dogs that were often closed into the bedrooms. Need I say more? There's a delicious feeling of exorcising the last of the house demons as I rub those scratch marks into oblivion.

2. Celebrating our 14th anniversary at Rioja, one of those fancy downtown restaurants whose menus read like short stories involving collisions of luxury ingredients (Alaska-caught halibut in an Earl Gray-Tarragon reduction with lemon cream fraiche and a fig tartlet) (which was delicious). Pretentious, yet mmmmm.

3. Receiving rather handsome T-shirts from our builder (although the shirts have the alarming motto "It's not our fault!" written on the back). I'm hoping this isn't one of those "I took out a second mortgage and moved out of my home and all I got was this lousy T-shirt" situations.

4. Finishing the fall baseball season with Silas (thank GOD. No more long haul missions to distant fields.)

5. Finishing untold piles of homework with the same. Eegads, the HOMEWORK. It's more than I had in many college classes. The boy continues to soldier on, bravely and stoically, but sometimes it breaks my heart. M offers a refreshingly different perspective, however--he says that when he lived in Germany in fourth grade, his homework loads were similar. Weekdays were for doing homework, and only weekends were for playdates.

6. Being dazzled by the autumn colors. This happens every year. All year I remember, intellectually, that autumn is very pretty, and then every year I amazed again at the incandescent yellows, the burning reds, the glittering grasses, the way a tepid vista of green and brown is suddenly spiced into brilliance, and everyday acts, like driving to pick up the kids or going for a disappointingly short run, become miracles of hope and beauty. (Why hope, though? I don't know.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Doggy Bags

Everyday life is easier than it was two weeks ago, for which I am grateful. Nevertheless, the simple mechanics of daily life--particularly the mechanics of getting the kids out the door with the correct items each and every day--are pretty much absorbing my entire brain space right now. We have friends that we have not seen or contacted in weeks, for which I feel a pang every time I remember them. We have new friendships that were just beginning when we started work on the house, and these friendships have pretty much been shelved for the time being. Although I can't help but notice that other families with multiple children in sports (the only families we see currently, as they are sharers in our current all-consuming hobby of Getting the Kids Out the Door With the Correct Items) seem also to be completely absorbed in their daily mechanics with little room left for socializing or making new friends. And these people have functional kitchens. So I can't blame it all on the house.

However, I can blame one of my latest preoccupations on the house: the need to find and hold onto good doggy bags. Not the food kind. My MIL's house has no fence and no real turf space to call its own, which means that Costi needs to be leashed up, walked, and scooped at least twice a day. This activity involves a lot of poop bags, and I'm constantly fretting about running out. Especially since I don't actually take her on walks in places that provide bags (she's getting old, and prefers not to walk far, and while I suppose I could load her into the car and drive her to an open space nearby...well, see the paragraph above. The planets might align to allow such an activity maybe once a week, at best. Meanwhile, her intestines keep working.) So I'm always dashing out to get the company paper at work, so I can strip off the encasing plastic and stuff it in my pocket. I'm always furtively tugging doggy bags from the stands set up in the neighborhood walkways around my work. I'm always pausing in my predawn runs to pull a few bags from the trails in the neighborhoods beyond the golf course (this is complicated by the fact that I adhere to a doggy bag karma: use only what you need, so that when you really need it, bags will be there. So I can't stock up.)

See? Brain space.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Life on a Golf Course

It so happens that we are living on a golf course. This is funny in many ways, the funniest of which being the fact that none of us play golf in any way (except for mini golf. A few of us are very enthusiastic about mini golf. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, we are not living on a mini golf course.) Even my MIL, whose house it is, does not play golf--which is a good thing, since, as you may know, golf is not cheap (not even when you live on a course, as it turns out), and living on a course you could not afford to play on would be awfully bitter.

However, there are a lot of things to like about living here. As the entrance gate swings shut behind you and you drive from the clubhouse to your house that is only a LITTLE bit like a dormitory room, the road swings up and over a lovely swell, with a great view to the east and west, over closely-shorn parkway, with a beautiful shaggy willow creek running through the middle. There's a pond, with cattails and ducks. All of the painfully tidy houses open onto green space (even if that green space is only about ten feet wide). It's very tranquil out here. Especially when all of the visiting grandkids have gone home. Ahem. It's very safe. And it's shall I say this? from the sorts of aggravations that come with living in other, less regulated places. No loud music. No free-roaming cats. No unleashed dogs or uncleaned poo. No unsightly yards or driveways. The homeowners' regulations, coincidentally, read a bit like a list of somebody's pet peeves (one of the rules says that if you put a non-American flag in your flag-bracket [ALL of the houses have flag brackets], you must also have an American flag up, and the American flag needs to be on top).

So...pretty much the four of us (plus our frequently unleashed dog) stick out like a passel of unwelcome gypsies. Every time the gate closes behind me I glance furtively at the houses on either side and sink a little lower in my seat. Every time I run through the neighborhood on my morning jog I feel like an interloper, like I need to say loudly to everyone who cheerfuly greets me that we are ONLY here for really, a FEW more days, we should be GONE by next weekend, I SWEAR it.

And actually? This might be true. The hardwood is going down in our bedroom as I write. By this weekend we may be moving back in. Still no kitchen, but man. It will be nice to be home.