Tonight as I was tucking Caspian in to bed, he held up his plastic police badge and said something about me owing 57 cents, and needing to come to the police station. (He's been very focused on money recently, mostly any coins he can find/steal and stash in his piggybank, which he is constantly removing the bottom plug from, pouring out his surprisingly substantial coin collection, and happily counting.)
I asked him if he wanted to be a police officer when he grows up, because if he wanted to be he would make a great one. Quote: "No daddy, I want to be all sorts of things. A mail man, a pig, a shark... When I'm a grown up shark I'm going to come to your house, move all the grass, come inside, and eat you."
That's more clarity on a career path than I've got right now.
It's been busy times. I broke down and went to the doctor, this time not the specialist who did my surgery and has kept me on steroids and various repetitive antibiotics, but to our friendly local gp, mother of four, thirties, moved here in the past four years from florida with her husband, and is a smart, grounded, hard working expatriate like me. She listened to my history, put me on a different set of medications, and spent most of her time talking about preventative things I can do to break this wonderful merry-go-round I've been on for years. So far it's working, four days in.
Which means the doldrums, which had earnestly set in, lifted, and this endless house project, specifically the kitchen ceiling, finally started to feel like it was getting somewhere. Before I can actually put up the ceiling downstairs, I need to install all the radiant floor heat tubes, cover them with aluminum flashing, complete all the plumbing for the upstairs bathroom and downstairs kitchen, rewire the kitchen lights and outlets, then I can re-install the insulation and start nailing up the bead board. All of this work is time consuming, boring, and does not provide the visual progress that puts a skip in my step.
But! Plumbing is done, radiant tubing for this half of the house is done, aluminum flashing is all installed, and I'm waiting to track down a pex crimper for the 1" header lines so I can do a pressure test before installing the insulation. I really don't want to be tracking down a leak through insulation.
With luck I'll knock that all out in the next couple days, and be ready to start installing the french doors when they arrive on Thursday. That is going to change everything, open the whole house up, and let us see our beautiful farm without having to find one of the few doors to exit through, or look out one of the few windows.
Alexe's store looks great, the updates were needed and have made the place feel more-right with no break-in time. She's having a rough time with some staff, a perpetual problem that she is going to solve after realizing, two plus years in, that the effort of checking references and staying on top of employees is worth the added up front and ongoing effort for the crap it generally mitigates in the future. Her other option is to turn employee management over to me. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. After this past week it was the first time she asked, and the first time, after seeing her unhappy for the whole week, I seriously considered it.
That's enough text, let's go find some pictures of the charming rascals...
And after looking, I think I need to make more time for photo snapping. The pickings are a little slim from the past week...
We repurposed the geo-dome I made for Burning Man into a moveable chicken run. Chicken wire over the top is pending.
On a sunny day when I was working on the porch, replacing the round columns with matching cypress posts and securing the cedar flooring, so happy to be working outside and out of the )^*)^$-ing kitchen, Caspian kept me company, bombing around on the Skuut. The incline from the house to the current chicken location is not gentle, and he mad the run on his own several times.
The kids had a movie date with Ms. Polly, the photographer who rents the front three offices above the BTC. She set up a little theater for them, and in two hours they made it halfway through Ever After, what with all the snacking and question breaks. They have a follow up date scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
The kids have been getting better and better about amusing themselves. With the weather being nice-er, they wander in and out, and I check on them periodically to see what they're doing with the pups, or to the cat, or why it's so quiet in their rooms. For the most part, with the exception of their never-ending raids on the kitchen, they're doing a good job of amusing themselves and wearing out before bedtime.
This was prepping for a game of princess and policeman. He locks her up, she escapes, chasing ensues. The variation which we play more often, and requires a third person, me, involves Caspian's superman shirt, I'm the bad guy, and he is the super hero. Annaliese is still a princess, locking up is still required to start the game, and chasing ensues.
Yesterday Annaliese went to a birthday party, and then these two kids went to a valentines party at church for 3 hours. It's a fun practice the churches have, providing parents with some wonderful alone time at very low cost. Alexe and I had an amazing evening home alone, with waffles and a fire and good books. I can't remember the last time we were home alone.
The kids were worn out, and we woke up this morning to torrential rains. (I got to run down to the building twice, first to check on a disgruntled cook who was overloading a circuit and passive aggressively not flipping the breaker, all of ten steps away, second to fix a leaking roof.) We had a very nice family lounge the rest of the morning, until Alexe had to go to a jewelry party thrown by a friend. (Ask her about that, heh heh.) The kids and I took a glorious nap, and woke up in the late afternoon.
We made popcorn and settled in for a family movie, one of the OSS 117 flicks. (They're funny, if you play along. If you're not so much into hammy french spy films, I'd recommend Jean Dujardin's "Cash". All around good flick.)
We wrapped after 8 this evening, and the kids, being well napped, were racing around the house on bikes, or jumping on the couch. This picture was taken some time after 9, notice Annaliese is wearing my boots.
Alexe, who didn't get to take that nap with us, went to bed. The kids and I watched tonight's new episode of Top Gear, british version, thanks to a friendly youtube uploader, then I tucked them in.
Moments ago Caspian came upstairs to explain to me that his covers are messed up, and his sister is five, (fingers held up correctly,) and he is only this many, (three fingers held up but not identified as three,) and so I can;t expect him to be able to fix his own bed yet, because look, (hands with three and five fingers respectively held up side by side,) that's a big difference.
I went down and tucked him in. Who could resist.
Those pictures left a lot of the week out. We had a fun time planting 20-some-odd fruit and nut trees around the place, a much easier task with a handy tractor + post hole digger + 12" auger.
At some point when the family was all home and the weather was nice we did a major yard clean up, loading the truck for a dump run with most of the lingering construction refuse, and keeping the burn barrel going with scrap wood and cardboard. I'm trying not to jump the gun on final grading of the yard and ordering the cotton gin trash or other top soil for the yard until after the doors/roof/siding steps are done.
The house project is going to need to wrap up in the next few months. I'm excited about what we're going to have once it's all done, but there are issues with boredom and antsy-desire to do something challenging and a bit more think-y that are getting severe.
Fun little side projects, like hitting Pitney Bowes at the perfect time, aren't cutting it.
Minutes before 11 pm here, and I just took another walk to see the mewling 3 year old, who had turned on his bedroom light, but after a third tucking in, he gave my hand a final hug and three kisses, told me it smelled like grapefruit, and crossing my fingers here, rolled over and closed his eyes.