Monday, July 28, 2008

IKEA confessions

I spent Saturday putting together a Leksvik china cabinet that I bought (gulp) 17 months ago. It's been sitting, unassembled, in its long, long cardboard box next to our dining room radiator--a probable hiding place for the mouse that has made its home with us, and a shameful reminder of my tendency to bite off more than I can possibly chew. (Of course, the shame factor has been multiplied by Astrid's tendency to ask, just about every other day, "when are you going to make that cabinet, Mama?") Before my spring break in 2007, I bought both the china cabinet and a long buffet. I put together the long buffet within a week of was a blissful-ish winter afternoon, just Leksvik, me, and The Godfather, Part II. (If you look closely at the photo, you may see a buffet that looks sorta, kinda [well, not really very much] like the one I made that day). Somehow, my mojo completely left me after I finished putting that thing together--thus the IKEA box that would just not go away.

I am proud (*so* proud) to share the credit for our "new" china cabinet with my Ryobi lithium-ion powered screwdriver. This was definitely the most complicated IKEA construction I've attempted, and it took me half the time I expected it would--with no blistered palms, either.

Now we just have to get rid of our falling-apart old cabinet (scavenged from a moldy basement in Highland Park, NJ in the early 1990s), so that we have room for our tall, extremely well-constructed Leksvik china cabinet.

Check back in about 17 months, OK?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Screw everything," she said....

I haven't gotten to try it yet (it's charging) but I do have my new power screwdriver. Elliot accompanied me to a doctor's appointment today, after which we hit Target (no good electric screwdrivers, or at least none I felt excited about, but they did have Pokemon cards....what a shock!). From there, we hit Home Depot, where one of the workers provided us with a nice wheelchair for Elliot. I don't think I realized how tired he would get from the limping and hopping he had to do before we got to Home Depot---he was *so* pleased and relieved to be able to take trip through the National Park that is Home Depot sitting down.

I don't know how other women feel about those "power tools for girls" that used to be advertised a year or two ago (actually, they're probably advertised all the time on HGTV and other cable channels, but we don't have cable). When I saw pink and light purple power tools at Michael's (I think), I nearly barfed; I also suspected (don't know if I'm right) that they weren't as functional as the kind of tools one can buy at a real hardware or home improvement store. Shopping at Home Depot today, though, I lifted the various electric screwdrivers and drills they had, and with every one, I found myself thinking, "Wow, this is heavy! Don't they have anything a little lighter, sized for a woman's smaller hand?" That's when I realized that there apparently is a market for girls' tools--though maybe not pink and lilac colored ones.

Anyway, I am prepared to love and cherish my bright green Ryobi electric driver, with its lithium ion battery. I will screw everything in sight with it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mouse troubles and Electric Screwdriver

Two things.....

We have a big, grayish-brown mouse in our house, and it's the middle of the summer. S/he is a cocky rodent who is sometimes sitting in the middle of a room when we walk into the living room. We saw the Orkin truck a couple of houses down this afternoon, so perhaps we're not the only ones with a hairy summertime house guest. I'm not...the...least...happy about having a mouse in July. In mid-October, I'm prepared (though still not excited), and we have strategies for redirecting the little fellas back outdoors. Now, though, I want an open house, and I don't want to worry about seeing a mouse in my messy, messy house!

I'm in the middle of assembling some IKEA furniture (related to the never-ending, never successful quest for a more organized living space), and I find that I'd *really* like to have an electric screwdriver. I have no idea if they are as handy as they look, but I'm gonna see if I can get my hands on one tomorrow. And that's that.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Before the Sprain

Here are photos from last weekend--before Elliot sprained his ankle.
On Saturday of last week, we held our annual block-wide Yard Sale. Elliot and Astrid staffed a Bake Sale for Obama, which netted $32----not bad! Astrid and I made all of the chocolate chip cookies and Rice Krispie Treats on the very hot, very humid night before. I was cursing my foolish thinking as we sweat away until 11 p.m. in the kitchen, but the next day we were very happy with the response the kids got. I'm proud to say that I have mailed in the money they earned (plus my own donation, promised a month ago....).

On Sunday, our neighbor Tejul came over and the three kids experimented making sailboats for our little pool. We are so sad that Tejul and his family are moving in a couple of weeks; they have been lovely neighbors.

The Sprain

On Wednesday, Elliot sprained his ankle at sports camp. It took us until Friday afternoon to find out whether his ankle was broken or not--slow hospital! He's been incredibly patient, and my laptop has been in nearly constant use. (Is there a connection between those two facts? The Battle for Wesnoth has apparently kept him sane when he hasn't been able to run around.)

We're hoping the ankle will be healed enough for him to walk around, at least, by Wednesday of this week, but we know this may be unrealistic, as the darn thing is still quite swollen. In the meantime, we've been enjoying instant movie-viewing on Netflix---Young Frankenstein, DOA (the very old film noir), The Music Man (more for Astrid than for Elliot), and lots of episodes of Walking with Dinosaurs.

I'm finally about halfway through with the shorts I started almost ten days ago. To me, these shorts represent leisure and freshness--leisure, because once I put them on, I've acknowledged that I'm not going anywhere that requires presentability, and freshness, because I have enough of them to wash each pair after I wear it once. In the muggy hot weather we're having, that's a nice feeling.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What I'd like to be doing

Sometimes I feel like I've walked into a restaurant that looks really great from the street, but when I sit down and see the menu, I think....gee, do you have one with better choices? I know I walked in here under my own power, but now that I'm here, nothing looks too appetizing.
Here's what's on my menu:

  1. revising an article that's due on 8/15, when I feel pretty sure that the revisions "suggested" by the editor will turn my essay into something much less interesting (to me)
  2. grading more papers
  3. cleaning the house
  4. cleaning the house
  5. cleaning the house
  6. mowing the lawn and weeding
Here's the menu I wish I had:

  1. sewing the six pairs of "around the house" shorts I cut out on Monday night
  2. finishing the two sets of pillow tops I'm embroidering (a pair of pigs and a pair of camels; I've done the first of each set)
  3. sewing a comfortable, belly-positive swimsuit with the Kwik-Sew swimsuits and activewear master pattern book I bought two weeks ago
  4. finally finishing my big healthcare collage
  5. taking a nap
  6. putting together the Broken Dishes and Four-Patch quilt blocks I've finished
  7. taking a nap
  8. going to the pool by myself in the very attractive, belly-positive swimsuit I just finished (see #3)
Tonight when we were at a picnic with the other families from Elliot's baseball team, we heard the cicadas for the first time this summer. Every year I promise myself that I won't get melancholy when I hear them, but it never works, and this time was no exception. Unlike other years, though, I was with a bunch of other women who had the same looks on their faces as I must have. It was nice to know that I'm not the only one who mourns the passing of summer when it's really not quite half over.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Nice noisy city

We drove from Lake Keuka to Buffalo yesterday--and *I* did all of the expressway/thruway driving, which is a HUGE achievement for me--and now I'm tired, tired, tired. While we were at the lake, I was supposed to be grading papers--about 20 8-pagers--and, while I did manage to get through about ten of them, I eventually gave up and saved them for when we got home.

Hanging onto student work for more than a week makes me feel very anxious and guilty, so this morning, as painful as it was, I anchored myself on the front porch and graded the rest of the papers. It took me about six hours, and, no, they were not pleasant hours, even though (or perhaps because) the day was so perfect. About two thirds of the way through the process, when my energy and concentration were seriously flagging, our next door neighbors stopped by to chat. I didn't have the guts to ask them to go, so I stole moments here and there to keep grading, and I smiled through gritted teeth.

So I'm a big complainer tonight, is what it all comes down to. I'm also grouchy because my internet connection keeps going down.....probably bad karma from all of the wireless access I've been "stealing" over the past week. Tomorrow we're going to the pool, come hell or high water (not really something to joke about during this summer of midwestern floods). It's good to be back in our nice, noisy city, but it's a little hard to come back to the routines and everyday pressures that we left just a short week ago.