Thursday, May 31, 2007

Haaaallelujah! Haaaallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Halleeeeelujaaahhhh!

We have accepted an offer on the house.

I repeat, we have accepted an offer on the house. It is less than our (reduced) asking price, but we really liked the lady and I think she loves the house almost as much as we do, so we've accepted.

We had the inspection a week ago, we're signing the Purchase and Sale on Monday, and we close on June 28th.

Thank god, thank god, thank god.

I don't even care that we're losing money - it's not that much money, and after all, it's only money. It's worth it to me to have everything wrapped up before we leave for Princeton.

One more (giant) check on the "Things to do Before We Leave Massachusetts" checklist.


Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

All we are is dust in the wind

Oh man, if this were my kid......

Thank god (so to speak) they were Buddhists and not, oh, say, Neo-Nazis making a Lego sculpture of Hitler, or that kid would have been toast.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

If all of the raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops

So here's a weird thing I've discovered:

You know how when you're feeding somebody a bite of food with your utensil, you tend to open your mouth along with them? I've noticed this when feeding Nolan, or watching KB feed Nolan - KB'll hold the spoon out to him, and when Nolan opens his mouth to take the bite of food, KB will open his mouth, too. (It doesn't happen much anymore now that Nolan mostly feeds himself.)

I used to think that this was some sort of biological adaptation evolved to encourage your offspring to eat - to visually show them that it was safe, healthy food that you're giving them. "Open wide, Junior! See? Like me!" Or something.

It seems pretty unconscious when we do it, which is what makes it sort of funny - you don't realize you're opening your mouth along with Nolan until someone watching you points it out.

Then yesterday, I popped a bowl of popcorn for Nolan and I to share, and he was feeding me some pieces of popcorn (we're "working" on sharing as a concept right now - can't say that it's going too swimmingly, but then, he's not even two) and HE was opening his mouth right along with me as he shoved popcorn in my mouth. It looked exactly the same as when KB does it - a sort of distracted, unconscious opening of the mouth as he focuses on getting the food into my mouth.

So what does that mean? Are we genetically inclined to open our mouths when giving someone else our food to show them that it's okay to eat? Or did Nolan learn to do it by watching KB and I open our mouths while feeding him?

Investigate, and report back to me.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 21, 2007

If there's something inside that you wanna say, say it out loud it'll be okay

Enough with the rain already! I am going crazy with all this stupid weather.

Not only is it just plain depressing, with the gray clouds and the darkness and the endless drizzle (and the glaven), it's a major pain in the ass when you're trying to sell your house. Every time someone wants to come for a showing, I run around in a panic cleaning up various detritus and vacuuming the rugs, and every time we come home, the "buyers" have tracked muddy leaves and assorted debris all over the place as they walked around. Which means I just have to clean up AGAIN the next day when someone else wants to come see it.

Not to mention that when it's pouring rain outside, the possibilities for where Nolan and I can go for an hour or so are limited. No playground, no walk to the store, no chance for him to run around and burn off some energy. We end up driving around aimlessly (oh so good for the environment and the pocketbook, what with the $3 a gallon gas) or going to the mall to walk around (also not so hot for the wallet - or for the self-esteem - I end up berating myself - "I've become one of those moms! Those moms who go to the mall! And just walk around! I have no imagination! Aigh!")

I guess I should be grateful that we're even getting people in to see the house. It's such a disruption, though - no wonder selling your house is such a stressful process. Random strangers coming into your home, different people every time, walking around and evaluating how you live, while you are sent out into the rain with your child like an unwelcome guest. It's even worse when the "buyers" show up earlier than their appointed time, something that has happened a couple of times.

On Friday the person was supposed to show up at 3, and of course I had to wake Nolan up from his nap so we could leave, so I waited until the last possible minute so he could sleep as much as possible. Then, when I finally did wake him up, he had a poopy diaper, which is a whole new emergency when you're showing your house - you have to not only change the diaper (trying not to get any poop on the changing pad cover so you don't have to change that before you go), you have to open the windows (in the fucking rain!) to make sure the smell dissipates, and take the dirty diaper out of the house with you in a plastic grocery bag so you can make sure the house doesn't reek of poopy diaper. So of course as we're walking out the front door, plastic poopy diaper bag in hand, the "buyer" and her real estate agent are walking up the driveway. Fifteen minutes early. And she's all "Ohhhhhh, we're so sorry, it looks like we woke you up!" to Nolan. And I want to go, "You did, you fucking wench! You made me wake up my sleeping child and run around like a madwoman to please you! You'd better fucking buy this house!" But of course I don't.

Because it's not her fault, really. When I am the "buyer," like in Princeton when we've gone to look at houses, I want the people to accommodate me and my wishes, and if they don't, well god help them. We were down there in April looking at places, and at one place we showed up (with our agent) in this exact situation - the woman answered the door and was like, "Oh. You're early." and our agent asked if we could look around anyway since we were there, and the woman said no. And I totally mentally crossed that house off our list - I was like, "Well I guess you don't really want to sell your house, lady!"

So I know we have to do everything we can. But it's still a giant pain in the ass.

And we've lowered the price by 20 grand! Cough, cough, choke. And we continue to put money into the place - we had a handyman come to paint the deck and power-wash the siding last week, and the house looks great, but it's like, "How much more do we have to do?" Why won't someone buy this house? Forget about being choosy - when we first started this process I was envisioning competing offers (as I'm sure many delusional sellers do) and how we would be able to pick the people we thought would love the house as much as we do. Ha!

Now I think I would be happy if Donald Trump wanted to buy it and knock the whole block down to build the Boston Trump Taj Mahal. No. Not really.

Which reminds me, did I ever tell y'all what happened with the Development Next Door? I didn't? Typical.

We won. We totally, completely won. Even though we didn't get the street rezoned (yet - I don't know what will happen after we leave) we were able to scare off the developers completely. Both the house right next door to us and the one all the way at the top of the street are being rehabbed instead of knocked down to build condos. Because we were able to get a city-wide moratorium on building in Residence B (our current zoning) so the city can re-evaluate how it applies the zoning laws, both sets of developers realized that they were just losing money sitting on these houses/pieces of land, so they're rehabbing and trying to sell.


When KB's mom and I were outside working on the garden a couple of weeks ago, the people who live across the street from the place up at the top of the hill walked by and stopped to talk. They ended up thanking me for working so hard on fighting the developers - talk about gratifying. Now at least I know, even though we're leaving, we'll have had a positive impact on the neighborhood. Those houses will be in much better shape, and I think the street will benefit.


Now if someone would just buy our place so they can enjoy the great neighborhood.


Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 14, 2007

This was a Pizza Hut, now it's all covered with daisies

More garden porn!

All the daffodils have come and gone (am I supposed to be doing anything with the dead ones? Does anyone know? Like cutting off something? Or something?) as well as most of the regular hyacinths. The grape hyacinths bloomed a little later and so are still hanging around:

Lots more tulips have come up. I think that's normal; they're later-blooming than the crocuses and daffodils.

The tulip bulbs I planted were called "Queen of Night" and were supposed to be tall, with a very dark maroon/purple/black color. While I did get a few of those,

most of the flowers that have come up are completely different colors.

Very pretty, but not what I thought I was buying & planting. I guess that's what I get for buying bulbs at the Home Despot.

Then there are the tulips in the back - the ones I didn't plant, that the previous owner planted oh so many years ago and that just keep coming back like the perennials they are, in the vain hope that I will know what to do with them or how to take care of them.

Pretty nice, huh?

We've got some flowering bushes in front, too, that were here when we got here. Once again, I'm not exactly sure what they are, but I think they might be azaleas.

Then, of course, to counterbalance the beauty and symmetry of the flowers, we have to have a little evil weed*:
For there is no beauty without chaos, no light without dark, no Han Solo without Darth Vader.

Yup, it's Poison Ivy. It grows rampant in New England, apparently, and we've got it bad in our backyard. As you can see, it's all over The Rock, which is no good. Even if we're only here for another four weeks, there's no way I can keep Nolan from brushing up against it on one of our trips out into the backyard. I'm going to go get some Brush-B-Gone today and eradicate the sucker.

*No, not THAT evil weed. You think I'd have that growing in my back yard? Ha. Ha, ha. It is to laugh.

So I'm trying to view this all as practice for our REAL garden that will come later.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I feel so good if I just say the word

Some words Nolan can say with the utmost clarity. The really important ones he's got down cold. "Mama," for example, or "milk." (And, strangely enough, "daffodil.") Others, sometimes he can say the vowel sounds but not the consonants, or he substitutes consonants he can say for the ones he can't manage yet.

Because I spend so much time with him, I am (usually) able to consult the Nolan-English/English-Nolan dictionary in my head and come up with a translation. There are times, however, when even I cannot figure out what the heck he's saying. (Even when I use context, like they taught us in 3rd grade!)

So I thought I'd give y'all a chance to play Nolan Interpreter:


For each word given in "Nolan," pick the correct English translation.

1. "Brulella"

A. Vanilla
B. Umbrella
C. Brunhilda
D. Banana

2. "Elfadent"

A. Elephant
B. Alphabet
C. Accident
D. Element

3. "Dit-dee"

A. Ditty
B. Itty-Bitty
C. Kitty
D. Pretty

4. "Hininder"

A. Highlander
B. Cylinder
C. Calendar
D. Hindenburg

5. "Lai-bop"

A. Lamb chop
B. Mmmmmmm-bop
C. Light bulb
D. Lollipop

6. "Wahmen"

A. Watermelon
B. Ramen
C. Women
D. Whoa, man

7. "Dental"

A. Dental
B. Central
C. Gentle
D. Gentile

8. "Epup"

A. Step up
B. Get up
C. Ketchup
D. Hiccup

9. "Pee"

A. Pee
B. Pretty
C. Please
D. Peek

10. Wow-uh

A. Wow, huh?
B. Flower
C. Water
D. Shower

Scroll down for answers.

And while you're scrolling down, an anecdote:

Last night, while I was putting Nolan to bed, he asked for his giant giraffe stuffed animal. (He says it "Gee-raf" ["G" like in "gulp," not "g" like in George] in case you're wondering.) It's almost as big as he is, and it's wearing a skirt, rain boots, and, inexplicably, a blue ribbon that says "1st" on its neck. We didn't buy it, it was a (very very nice, don't get me wrong) gift.

And it occurred to me that we've never given the giraffe a name. Some of his animals have names - Grover (obviously), Sigfried the German lion (Siggy for short), Wolfgang the wolf (Wolfy for short), and Comfy Cozy Cow. But many of them (and there are MANY) have no names and are referred to by their generic animal designator. "Bear," for instance, or "Froggy." So I thought maybe, since he seemed to be growing rather fond of the giraffe, it was time to give it a name.

"We've never named your giraffe, Nolan." I said. "Should we give her a name?"

"Wanda." Nolan said.

Just like that. "Wanda." Clear as a bell.

So the giraffe's name is Wanda, apparently.


1. - B
2. - A
3. - C
4. - B
5. - D
6. - A
7. - C
8. - C
9. - C
10. - Trick question. It could be B or C OR D, since he says the same thing for all of them.


1-3 Correct: Well, what can you do? You don't have kids.
4-6 Correct: Not bad for someone who doesn't spend every day with Nolan.
7-9 Correct: You are a parent. And a linguist. And you spent way too much time on this.
All 10 Correct: You are me. Or Nolan. Nolan, you're not on the computer, are you?

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

You've been gone too long

Kelly (my stepsister) had her baby boy on Monday.

Nathan Dean was born on April 30th at 1:30 in the afternoon after - get this - 32 HOURS OF LABOR.

Witness the conehead:

I really can't think of anything I LIKE to do for 32 hours, much less to have to go through something as excruitating as childbirth for 32 hours. She did end up getting an epidural, which is only sensible. He weighed seven pounds 12 ounces at birth. (Which is remarkable, considering I think my stepsister weighs about 97 pounds soaking wet.)

Now they are back home, and the real fun begins!

I wish we lived closer so I could cook her a bunch of freezer meals like I do for the women in my mom's group who have had new babies.

Well, soon enough, I suppose.

Good luck to you, Kelly and Lewis and Nathan (and yes, Frank and Riley, too) and yay! Nolan has another cousin!

Thanks for reading.

UPDATE: Argh. Thought I had the whole sideways-picture thang fixed. I guess not. Sorry, you'll just have to turn your head.