And for once I was SuperMom

Friday, November 29, 2013


I wonder if this comes up?
I dig a finger nail into the corner of the room, underneath an edge of lavender painted paper.  The prying nail pulls away the edge.  Finger tips grab hold.  Pull.  Hands grip into fists. Pull.  The entire wall of paper comes off in one big sheet.  I stand amazed, elated at the accomplishment, discouraged at the second layer of paper underneath, and knowing that the rest won't be as easy.
As I examined walls, squinted, scratched, and picked I realized that every wall in our house was covered in wallpaper.  Some walls with two and in special sections three.  We Googled 'wallpaper removal,' like do-it-yourselfers, and found out the best processes.

"Wait, is this like, a thing?" a friend asks.
"Yep, Google it," I say, like Google is the holder to all things true, "this is really how you do this, scour it, spray it with the fabric softener, and then scrape away."  Out of the corner of my eye I see her long dark ponytail wiggle as she scrapes at the wall.
We've discovered that the best scraper is a long handled four inch scraper.
I smiled as I realized that I scrape wallpaper the same way that I carve stone, left hand holds the shaft and presses down applying pressure, right hand (dominant hand) drives the scraper at the back.  I've found this is the most effective way to remove the paper, scrape after gravelly scrape against ancient plaster.  Over the past few months I've found my body will actually crave the sandy scraping motion.  My shoulders and arms wanting the workout.  Finding myself sore for days afterward, I decided that this does indeed count as a workout.
After hours of scouring with the Paper Tiger (a little red device with sharp cutty wheels in it that you run over the wall) or cutting into the paper with a box cutter (only recommended if you are cutting through several layers of paper, it will cut into the wall if you have only have one layer), at least five large bottles of fabric softener (including one of those terrifyingly large ones from a bulk store), and even more hours of scraping we are done.  The last of the paper was removed this week.  This photos are taken from our first day working, that was in August.  Notice we are still smiling.

Our friend Becka joins us, here she is taking on the living room.

We've hit pay dirt!  Or horse hair plaster.
You can see swirly lines from the
Paper Tiger.

 I discover that those wall paper scrapers are sharp.
My ghetto first aid job, thanks to Becka's duct tape.

Emma and Carys get in on the act, it's not toxic, right?

The three layers in our hall;
fake collage, pink, flowers and then cracks.
After our ten year old nephew discovered this
crack, he suggested we leave the paper,
"I think it's holding the wall together."
Truth from the mouths of the young.

At least she can sleep. Later this
renovation will keep me awake at night.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Beginning

In July we closed on our house.
We have yet to live in it.
I'm sure you know that.  But I thought I'd let you know.
Our first visit to the house, all by ourselves, without a real estate agent or a contractor was after church.
There we were in our Sunday best, and we couldn't help ourselves.  We started picking and peeling at the layers that the former owners had left behind.
Here's a look at what we had:
Our new Living Room,that light spot in the corner is where the couch was, the rest are stains.  Not shadows.

Linoleum stairs, oh my!
Parquet floors in the Dining Room, usually a selling point.  These are soooooo dirty, we tore them out.
Peach walls in the Dining Room.

A 'My Little Pony Purple' Bathroom!

Another angle of the bathroom, dirty carpet and all.
Swans on the shower door!
Another 'My Little Pony Purple' Room.  This will be the girls room.
Master Bedroom, a door to the roof and linoleum on the floor.
The Guest room.  Looks not too bad?  That's click and lock Pergo, and those brown walls are painted on wallpaper.

When we first saw our house on the internet listing I had a good feeling about it, I don't know why.  When we pulled up I knew it was going to be our house.  As we toured the house and I saw that the pictures I had seen did not give away the true state of the home I started to panic a bit.  My real estate looked at me, with hands planted against my face,
'Well, what do you think?'
'We're going to buy this house,' I said, fingers pressing into cheeks.
'You don't look that happy about it,' she stated the obvious.
'It's just such a mess...'  She encouraged us about the house, it does have potential.
So we've begun scraping and scraping and scraping and scraping, removing the layers that were left behind to find the potential underneath.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Funny or Die

"Allright, I'm gonna smash it," I announce, making eye contact. She stops the harp with her hand,
"I'm actually playing song, it's off key, though," I nod.
"I know, that's why I threatened," I smile.
One of the things that I love about working with college students is that they are hilarious.  Currently they are experimenting with different forms of scooting on the hardwood floors of the house we share.  While one of them strums the aforementioned off key harp.
They also have way more time to find funny things on the internet, please enjoy:
Milk Smash:

We've been 'Falling.'  It's fun, but it usually makes my kid cry.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Color Me Yours

            “What should I color this duck?”  I asked Emma pointing to the duck on the coloring sheet.  She squirmed in my lap, balancing all her weight on my right thigh.
            “Ummm, this blue,” she hands me a dark blue.  I was thinking yellow, but that is pretty boring.  I took the blue marker from her with my left hand and very carefully started to fill in the black lines of the duck.  Emma’s perch on my right leg, blocked out my ability to use my right hand, she often does this when we color together.  I just decided to try to use my weaker hand, making coloring a more challenging exercise for myself.  Instead of thinking about all the things I could be doing I tell myself that I am exercising my brain.
            Sad that I have to trick myself to play with my child.  When she asks me to play ‘tea party’ or ‘dragons’ there are about a million things that bounce  through my head that need more ‘doing,’ than spending time with my child. 
            I remember watching a friend of mine groan while putting shoes on her child,
            “I can’t wait until this stage is over, and they can do things for themselves,” I remember watching her and thinking that she had just made this stage so much worse by wishing it away.  Subconsciously I absorbed this and have not focused on the stages that my girls are in, I just try to enjoy them.  I will be more thankful when my interests and Emma’s collide.
            Later that day,
            “Mom, can I have some juice in my owl cup?” I hear her a small voice at my elbow during dinner.  Knowing full well that I probably cannot find her ‘owl cup’ and don’t want to waste valuable eating time looking for said cup I lean over, our foreheads connect, her blue eyes are expanded into one,
            “Yes, you can have juice, but you have to promise not to freak out if I can’t find your owl cup,” I reply.
            “Okay,” she says and returns to playing at eating her dinner.  I push back my chair and find the nearest sippy cup I can, not the ‘owl cup,’ fill it with half juice and half water and give it to my waiting daughter.
            She did not freak out.  She accepted the cup and drank away.
            Why?  Why this time was it okay?  So many other times when I have given her the ‘wrong cup’ it has gotten a less than charming reception.  A vague thought simmered at the back of my head that because I had spent time with her that afternoon, listening to her, showing her that I value her, and that I value her opinion that the absence of an ‘owl cup’ might not be that earth shattering.  Her need to assert herself was diminished because she had her needs met that day.
            Whenever she starts to fall apart on a regular basis Scott and I will take the time to do something special for her.  Spend some intentional time with her, and always, always, her behavior improves afterward.  I have to remind myself of this so often, because it is so easy to refuse her invitations to play.  There are always more important things to do.
            But what is more important than shaping the little life that I was entrusted to care for?


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Under the Weather

This afternoon I performed my second rendition of a HIIT workout, High Intensity Interval Training.  I felt alternately like a goon and a stud while doing each exercise.  I tried to encourage myself by telling myself that not a lot of moms are in good enough shape to do this, that I look great compared to other women with two children.  Despite the extra belly jiggles and muscle failure on push-ups.

Afterwards I was so nauseous that I had to sit down.  Afterwards I was so nauseous and tired that I needed to go lie down.  Afterwards I was so nauseous and tired that I fell asleep for an hour.  Maybe that pumpkin curry for lunch was a bad idea....

Just when you think you're badass, you need to take a nap.

Scott was bewildered when I stood up, sweaty in my spandex and announced that I didn't feel well and needed to lie down.  He said,
"You haven't been feeling well a lot lately, what's going on?"  So my inner monologue meandered to wondering if I have cancer while I was trying to fall sleep, it sallied past 'maybe it's just that cold from last week,' and whipped around on a candy land board of anxiety back to cancer.  Through those twists and turns it wind about the fact that my family and I are currently sleeping in one large multi-purpose room all together.  In fact I was napping with my youngest child only a few feet away.
Let me explain...
This year in February we put an offer on a house.  It was accepted.  Yay!
The deal did not close until the end of July.  Boo.
But 'Yay!' because at least it closed, right?
The house is over a hundred years old.  Don't freak out, that's normal around here.
So we are getting it renovated.  Yay!  A house all done up just the way we want it, cause for celebration, right?
It is still being renovated and we really have no idea when it will be done.  Boo.
So since June we have have had four different temporary housing arrangements.  Boo.
But, they were all free.  Yay!
Currently we are staying in a house with twelve college students and their Resident Director.
You'll notice I didn't blog for the entire month of October. It's been taxing.
I do actually love the students.  They are hysterical.  They play with my children. They clean the house.  The cook dinner.
And we don't have much privacy to speak of.  And I sure would like to live in that house we bought.
Did I mention my clothes are in piles on a ping pong table?
Maybe that's why I've been feeling under the weather lately.
Did I mention that I wake up at night stressing out about paint colors?  I think I bought an entire gallon of the WRONG green.
Does Home Depot take paint back?
Maybe I will still use it....
Did I mention that my husband and I are sleeping on a blow up mattress?
I guess I should remind myself that I am lucky to have a house, that I am privileged to have bought a home and to get to decorate it.
Because it's true.