Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I so need to post some pictures.

The bed is basically done. We just need to put up the ladder and four pieces of wood to reinforce the side rails on top. The wood is already cut and stained so it's just a matter of screwing it in. It's such a cool set-up. The kids are having so much fun with it. I will put up pics as soon as I get it actually finished with the matresses in place. My mom gave us a twin mattress years ago when Zaven first went to an adult bed. We thought we'd have to buy the second one but a family friend has offered to give us the second one since she no longer needs it. I have no idea what condition it's in, so we may end up still buying one, but I've got my fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, life has been good. It's calmed down a lot from the summer and I'm enjoying the feeling that every day is a small bit of progress towards getting the house in order. Zoe has been working hard in school and is starting to be able to read a few words and sound out most letters. She still has trouble with lowercase letters, plus the usual trouble that different fonts cause. But she's really starting to get excited about it and starting to want to try to read things. She totally grasps the ideas, so it's just a matter of practice. It's exciting for all of us to watch it happen. Very, very cool.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Double grrrr.

You know how we were waiting for the stain/varnish mix to dry on the wood so we could do the other pieces and finally assemble the bed? We were running low on the mix so we went back to the store to pick up another can. The store was closed. Stopped by another branch. They were open but out of the pre-mixed cans. So we bought the same color of stain that was in our mix (same brand, too) and clear varnish. We get home and open it up and it doesn't match. It doesn't even come close to matching. What we'd had was chocolate brown. What we got the second time was light grey. We went back to the store to see why the new stuff was so different. Turns out the new stuff looks just like it was supposed to. The stuff we'd bought to begin with was mislabeled. And no, they don't have any idea which color that actually is and no, we can't open up cans and test them and find a match. In fact, even if they agreed to let us open the cans we wouldn't be able to find a match because that one was actually specially mixed for someone but then the label was never changed to reflect it. And they don't remember which colors they combined or how much of each they used to get that shade.

So we bought about $25 worth of stains so we could try and come up with a match. It's kind of close, but you can still tell they don't match. And we wasted all day shopping and mixing so the beds still aren't done.

On the plus side, I did hang up their new light. It's from Ikea. We got it on our last trip there for $5. It normally sells for $30, but this was the floor model. There's nothing wrong with it, but it was dusty. We cleaned it up and it looks so cool. Zoe is extra impressed. She thinks it looks like a big flower. From underneath it sort of does.

We also got to see my parents and Scott's mom for a small party for Quinn. I'm too tired to upload the photos tonight, but I'll put them up tomorrow. It was nice to see everyone and it was all relaxed and casual, which is SO what I needed. I just didn't have it in me to do anything high stress. These bunk beds are stress enough, LOL.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

OMG, I am so tired!

No, I didn't do anything to make me this tired. Not really. But Zaven and I spent the morning cleaning out Zoe and Quinn's room. We put away all the books and toys, cleaned out the toddler bed and crib, etc. And that's what got to me.

You know how you don't really get things actually clean when there's a kid around? I mean, not like you did before you had kids. Because while you're pulling the furniture out to dust behind it, your toddler is opening all the yogurt and rubbing it on the walls. So post-baby cleaning means you get the worst stuff and figure that you'll get around to the rest of it eventually. Well, today was that event. And there wasn't as much dirt as I thought there would be, but he dust nearly killed me and Zaven. We both have bad allergies and when we finally got the beds out and started sweeping up underneath where they had been... oh man, it was bad. The toddler bed was a car bed, and it doesn't sit on legs, it sits directly on the floor. So it hadn't been swept under in like 2 years. You wouldn't think it could have dust under it, seeing as it's right on the floor, but there's a little gap. Just enough for dust, I suppose. Anyhow, we started sneezing and our noses were dripping and when it was all done the room looked great... but we were worn out. If you have bad allergies, you know what I'm talking about. It just drains you of all your energy.

The bunk beds are coming along. I think we'll get them done tomorrow. I hope. The thing that's taking so much time is the staining of the wood. It was raining all week and we couldn't do it then. (No way am I trying it inside. I just know I'd knock it over and ruin the floor or something.) So it had to wait until this weekend. But even though it's sunny out, the stain is drying SO slowly. I have no idea why but it is. Everything is almost ready to be assembled, but there are a few more pieces that have to be stained. We didn't get them all stained today because we only have so much room on the sawhorses to lay them out. I can't lay them on the ground because when I tried the dogs kept messing with them. If they'd dried quicker, we could have done the next batch. As it was we just had to sit around and wait.

Anyhow, if all goes well we'll finish the staining in the morning and start assembling. That part is usually fast. Wish us luck!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Attempt number two

After raining most of the week, the forecast for this weekend is looking pretty good. So once again we're going to attempt to make the bunk beds. Scott isn't feeling all that great, so it may be that Zaven and I do it without him. Honestly, that may be for the best. Scott is a wonderful husband, but he has strange ideas about projects like this. For instance, he wants to assemble the bed outside. But if we do, we'll just have to disassemble it because it won't fit through the doors. I think it's because he wants to assemble it before I stain the wood. I refuse to do that inside since I don't want to ruin anything in the house and I know that there's no way we'd do it and not spill a drop. And why does it need to be assembled before we stain it? As far as I can tell, there's not a reason in the world we can't just stain the pieces, let them dry, then bring them inside and put them together. Sure it would end up needing some TLC and retouching. But if we disassemble it and reassemble it we'd get scratches that way too. But that's just him. I'm sure I do all sorts of things that drive him crazy. So if it's that important to him, I just let him and help as best I can. But if he's not feeling well I'll just do things my way (the easy way) and be done with it.

Meanwhile, things have been quiet this week. Scott and I are still getting over our colds. You know how it is. You feel OK as long as you're not doing anything, but once you start working you just get so tired. I feel like all I've done this week is to run errands and sleep. But for now that will have to do.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A very good mystery

Some of you may remember that I started doing mystery shops a few months ago. I'm still with only a very few agencies so I'm not at all an expert. But today was SO successful that I have to tell you all about it.

As you may recall, for the most part Mystery Shopping is not a way to get rich quick. Most of the shops I've done require you to buy something. You're reimbursed, but in reality that free item is a significant part of your pay. If you went to a fast food place and got a burger and fries, you wouldn't really be making much money. Maybe $5 for your gas, time online entering the report, and time in the restaurant. So the free burger and fries is just as big an incentive as the cash. The problems come when you realize that you need to order exactly what the company wants (so you can't get onion rings instead of fries, or a chicken sandwich instead of a burger), or when you end up inviting your husband (and you spend all your profits on his food), or when you schedule a shop at what you thing will be a very convienient time only to find out that you need to be halfway across town for a recital or a ballgame.

But TODAY... today was perfect. I had 3 shops planned but got a call moments before I walked out the door to see if I could add a fourth that another shopper had failed to do. All my shops were in the same area, which just happened to be close to a store I'd been meaning to stop at for a month. And the kicker was that 2 of the shops were for paint. Yes, paint. For one I had to make a $5 purchase. That was easy enough. I bought the paintbrushes I needed for finishing the bunk beds. For the other shop, I was to buy a gallon of paint. Any color or variety I wanted. I would be reimbursed up to $60. Yes, $60. I was so excited. I've been wanting to paint my kitchen cabinets for the longest time. I wanted to do them in oil paint and that stuff is really expensive, but it lasts forever. So today I bought about half the paint I need. It would be all the paint I need but I want to do them in two colors. I'm hoping that by the time I get around to finishing the bunk beds I'll have another mystery shop and get the other color for free, too.

For my four shops today I'll get $37 in payment and $70 in reimbursement. And even better, Scott watched Quinn for me so I got to spend the whole day alone.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

Today was Quinn's birthday. I've been telling the kids that it's Labor Day in honor of me going into labor with Quinn three years ago, LOL. We had a party of sorts. I say 'of sorts' because really it was just a cookout at my sister's house. No presents or grandparents or guests. We did have cake, but it was much more a labor day cookout than it was a birthday party. In fact, when my sister and I first decided to get together this weekend we hadn't looked at a calendar and realized that Labor Day fell on his birthday. It was just a happy coincidence. I figure we'll do the gifts and balloons this weekend over in the town where the grandparents all live. It'll be kind of nice to spread it out and let him have a few extra moments in the spotlight. As the youngest of four he sometimes has to fight for it, although we do our best to make sure each of the kids gets time and attention as well as love.

Tara asked who the bunk beds are for. They are for Zoe and Quinn. Having four kids means that either the younger two share a room for a few more years despite not being the same gender, or that one of them move in with an older sibling of the same gender. Seeing as how Zaven is 13 years older than his baby brother and Caly is 8 years older than her baby sister I figured that the best bet was for the youngers to stay together until Zaven heads off for college. And of course even then we'll need an extra bed for him when he comes home on vacations. I'm not too worried about it. Zaven and Caly shared a room forever and I think it's part of the reason they get along so well. Caly was fine sleeping in a room with someone else but got really scared if she was alone. Zaven didn't mind because it meant someone to goof off with when he was supposed to be asleep.

Of course, it's kind of a moot point since Zoe always comes in to sleep with me and Scott. But we're hoping the top bunk will be too enticing for her to resist.

Meanwhile, here's a look at what a difference 3 years makes. That's Zaven holding Quinn, by the way.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The weather is not cooperating.

I was all set to finish the beds today but then the rain set in. No way am I staining these inside a house with four kids, so the project is on hold. And since all the wood got soaked in the rain it will be several days before it's dry enough to continue. I hate half-finished projects. They never get put away, but then they never get finished because something more urgent comes up.

On the plus side, if I was going to have to delay the project today was a good day for it. I didn't sleep well last night and felt awful when I woke up this morning. So while it was frustrating to not get to finish the beds, I did get to let up on the pace a little and now I feel a bit better.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bunk Beds

We're building them this weekend. Scott and I just bought the lumber today. If all goes well they'll be done by Monday. Well, except that I have to drive to my MIL's to get one of the matresses that we've stored in her basement. And I have to buy the other mattress. But the frame will be done. Wish us luck. I expect we'll need it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Reading Logs.

I'd forgotten how much I hate them. I never seem to remember to write down what I read to the kids, or if I do I forget to put them in their backpacks. Zoe has been in school 3 weeks I think and already I missed one log altogether and turned in the other one late. This week's is due tomorrow so I'm having Zaven and Caly read to her tonight. I have no idea where the log is, so I'll just have to write it on a piece of paper but I think that it's progress.

And lest ye be concerned that I don't read to her myself or that without the additional pressure of a due date she would seldom hear a story... well, you're right. I hardly ever read to her and Quinn. I should, but Zoe is loud and active. Anyone who has actually met her is probably impressed that she's ever been read to. She was until recently incredibly difficult to read a story to. She just wouldn't hold still and be quiet long enough for even a few words to the page.

Quinn on the other hand loves books. They're his favorite snack. He had Pica, which basically means he eats things that aren't food. And books are one of the things he eats. So I buy books for him to chew and rip and for Zoe to get frustrated with and ignore. And I avoid pretending that the books are for anything else.

But the past few months I've caught Quinn looking at them without drooling. And Zoe has sat through a few stories. So maybe it's time. I hope so. Because unlike those two, I love to read.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I'm supposed to be at the movies.

Remember how last week I got to see Lawrence of Arabia? This week they're showing Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Scott and I were so looking forward to it. I've never actually watched it all the way through. I've seen a lot of it, but not all at one sitting. And I've certainly not seen it on the big screen.
Besides the theatre showing it is really, really cool. It was built in the 1920's and has marble floors, a huge stained glass panel in the ceiling, a wurlitzer organ (for the silent movies!) and those big draping curtains that are lifted up before the show starts. They show a different movie at every showing and feature new releases, cult classics, and 3-D monster movies from the 50's. The Holy Grail is only on today.

The fun thing is that going to a movie there becomes an event, and everyone in the crowd feels the same way. We all laugh out loud at the funny parts, gasp at the scary parts, boo at the bad guy, and clap when the heros defeat the villians. It's different from seeing a movie in a modern theatre. And I so wanted to see Monty Python there as much because of the crowd as because of the movie.

So why am I not at the movies?

I have a cold and so does Scott.