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Archive for February, 2008

. . . and she’s one year old this Valentine’s Day. Happy birthday, Zoe!

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Looks like you’ve got that crazed, go-for-the-frosting look in your eyes.

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 wallpaper

We did it! Wallpapering a bathroom on Sunday was an all-day, mother-daughter bonding adventure for the three of us. We only had one do-over in a tricky corner around a cabinet and the light fixture, and the rest went on with relative ease — as did the border. Steve magically appeared to remove and replace the mirror, tighten resistant hardware screws, bring food, and to unclog the bathtub drain. Otherwise, he was careful to avoid the congestion and filled his time with yard and pool work. The best part of the wallpapering is the satisfaction that it hasn’t (yet) split at the seams or peeled after a few hot showers like the professionally installed paper that preceded it. Go, team! Blake and Joel generously offered to help, but we were tripping over each other as it was. Instead, they put their doggy sanitation expertise to good use in the back yard.

We completed all the deep cleaning we had had planned to do before our guest arrived except for a couple of bedrooms, which can be done as time permits now that the rest is out of the way. The garage — well, that’s another story. It got a last minute clean-out with the electric leaf blower, but the clutter of boxes and miscellanea remains. I’ve found that the leaf blower also works well for “dusting” large artificial plants and hard-to-reach, high places INSIDE the house. Yes, I’ve now confessed publicly that I’ve used my leaf blower for interior spring and fall house cleaning for several years now. I’ve also been known to vacuum the pool table (and occasionally the sofa) with an upright vacuum; however, now Roomba can do that for me, too — at least the pool table.

My daughter’s boyfriend had a good flight and arrived on time yesterday. Jenna had classes today so after breakfast, Jens and I spent the morning discussing Presidential candidates and today’s primaries, the differences between German and American plumbing (specifically showers), the differences in our television advertising, and the various ways to flip through our hundreds of available TV channels on the cable remote. He’s very pleasant company and easy to talk to. Tonight we’ll introduce him to the rest of the family and enjoy some Texas barbecue.

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I love you.

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After a nearly sleepless night, I was startled awake by the ringing of a phone at precisely 8:52 a.m. As I made my way to answer, caller ID announced a name that I didn’t recognize and without glasses, couldn’t read; I turned around and headed back to bed. Again the phone rang from the same caller, which is usually Ali-code for “Mom, I forgot my phone, I borrowed someone’s, and please, please, PLEASE answer the phone!” So, I did.

I could detect a hint of panic in the familiar, hushed voice that indicated my daughter was stowed away in a school restroom stall with a cell phone, hoping not to be overheard.

“Mom, I can’t find the last page of my essay! Could you look in the printer?”

Unable to find it, I was further requested to print it again from her laptop. In doing so, I discovered the printer’s blinking light and an empty paper tray. Problem solved.

“I need it before third period so can you get it here as soon as possible, please? Thanks, Mom. I love you!”

I fed the paper tray, fed the pets all dancing at my feet, herded the dogs outside for a routine morning potty break, threw on my clothes, found my keys, packaged and labeled her report, let the dogs back in, and — unaware of how much time all that actually took or when third period started — made a mad dash for the school. I completed the delivery to a student office aide and was back to my car by 9:20.

Once home again, I met Jenna (daughter #1) heading out the door.

Coffee time.

I’m honestly going to miss being needed like that once they’re all out on their own. It’s a phase of my life that’s coming all too quickly.

Now, where did I put the carpet spot-cleaning brush?

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I’m middle-aged, and so is my ambition. With my eldest daughter’s boyfriend coming all the way from Germany in a few days to meet and stay with us for about a month, I have so much left to do! — and yet, here I am once again alert at all hours of the night, honing my procrastination skills, and praying that by some miracle, the paper bought for my daughter’s bathroom will glue itself to the wall and the rest of the house will self-clean by Monday. Maybe he’ll think American refrigerators and garages are supposed to look like that?

It’s after 4 a.m. I took melatonin — Why isn’t it working?!

And it’s February. My gawd, it’s February! And our granddaughter turns one! We seem to have crammed just about every birthday and celebration possible into the shortest month of the year. (April and November compete for second busiest, and the rest trickle in here and there.) I have gift shopping to do, and for someone whose shopping gene mutated into something unrecognizable, that’s no easy task — even for the people I love. Thank goodness (?) my family isn’t afflicted with that mutation.

Pictures! My youngest daughter needs 15 photos for the senior class video — and another orthodontist appointment for aligner adjustments.

Play date with my granddaughter tomorrow.

Come on — I can do this.

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Adventures with Roomba

The current members of our household include a variety of personalities embodied in two energetic labs (Chief and Sarge), one overweight, lethargic beagle (Phoebe), and two attention-starved, always-hungry cats (Butterball and Sox). The canines and felines that share our home provide us not only with unconditional love and companionship, but also massive accumulations of HAIR. So much hair, in fact, that our 10-year-old Oreck vacuum could no longer keep up. Knowing this, our son and daughter-in-law gifted us with yet another home companion: Roomba. It was a thoughtful and generous gesture, not to mention an intriguing new gadget, but I doubted it could actually handle the job.

We’ve had it a few weeks now, and I’m convinced. Not only is it doing everything it’s touted to do, it has surpassed that and become, in every sense of the word, another pet. For the first day or two, the dogs and cats were aggressively curious and eager to nip or bat at the poor dear, but by the end of the week, all were adjusting fairly well. Within the past week, however, Roomba has clearly risen to the top of their pecking order.

If you’ve seen Roomba in action, you know how he hugs tight to clean baseboards. This morning I watched him hug Chief and go three-fourths of the way around him like that, then head across the room, do a 180 and bump back into him. Suspicious of feigned affection and motive, Chief complacently held his position. Undaunted, Roomba left the room entirely, only to return a few minutes later in an advance maneuver. This time, with Chief’s expected retreat, Roomba victoriously claimed new territory in the name of “dirty spot,” circle danced, and gloated with de(blue)light.

Awaiting further amusement (and only moments later), Roomba maintained a criss-cross holding pattern between the utility room and back door hallway. Luckily for him, Phoebe had one of those rare moments when she decided on her own that she needed to go outside. She tried to sneak through undetected, but just as she’d head to one side, he’d bump a wall, turn around, corral, and toy with her. In her complete frustration, he had her just where he wanted her. Bump… and… Score!

Besides being clever and hairless, his grazing routine makes him very economical to feed. Like many other pets, however, Roomba still requires occasional grooming, frequent litter box cleaning, and an occasional reprimand. Earlier this week, I awoke to evidence of another streak of mischief. Apparently feeling abandoned or neglected, he had acted out, scattering homework papers and trailing socks and charger cords across the living room floor. Then, to avoid a scolding, he hid away under the sofa and fell asleep.

I had to forgive him though. For the most part, he seems so happy to please us.

Chief and Roomba

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