The last day of a rainy weekend, the kids are chattering in the tub as it fills to rinse off the surplus maple syrup from their second breakfast, and there are two parties ahead of us this afternoon.
Let's catch this diary up, in no particular order...
Alexe found the couch she has always wanted on craigslist, well made, full of down, a gentle curve to the back, deep and long and big enough for the whole family to pile into for family movie night, so we piled into the truck and headed up to Memphis to pick it up.
We stopped at the Apple store to pick up a charger for the laptops, Alexe has broken two of them now, and wandered through the other shops in the strip mall, Anthropologie-type places, and felt very out of touch with the lifestyle those places represent. Not simply the things they sell, but the culture that works all week, then spends their free time actively looking for stuff to spend their money on, rinse-repeat.
We stopped at a park and walked around the little lake, then let the kids burn off some energy at the playground. One of the cool ones with a squishy rubber floor.
We saw an interesting brick building set way back from the road, turned up the drive to explore, and found it was a horse barn built by a man with funds and a passion for horses 60+ years ago. Beautiful arch.
We stopped at a famous Memphis burger joint, and had a very good root beer, and a disappointing burger. The meat was good, a higher quality than a basic chain, but the buns were cold and un-toasted, which felt not like a culinary choice, but laziness. We may be a bit snobbish about buns.
The house is getting there. If I had to set a goal, I would say 5 more weeks until we're done. There's been a set-back, I think I have a picture to demonstrate, but if it stops raining at some point, I should be able to stay inside that timeline.
The wall separating the living room from the side of the house that used to be the kitchen is now a half wall. The kitchen has been entirely removed, and the kitchen/dining room that was on the other side of the wall has been opened into a single room.
This wall has been updated.
French doors to replace the windows on the far left, those windows shifted to the center of the wall to replace the single door, and the windows on the right that used to be above the kitchen sink have also been replaced with french doors.
I haven't taken many other pictures, but the room has been entirely re-wired, with the second circuit panel of the house having to be moved in from the porch where it was originally installed in the laundry room.
The walls have been insulated, and half of the room that was sheet-rock has been replaced with tongue and groove pine 1" boards. Half of the ceiling has also been replaced with the same. (The dining room part of this room used to be a porch, and when it was closed in they used sheetrock instead of the solid wood the original walls of the house were built with.)
Paint and floors and that room will be done.
Caspian taking his Skuut off-roading.
We've been making a point of doing non-work things. Alexe and I have agreed that we will stop working at 6 pm, and not talk about the store or the renovations after that. We are sometimes successful, and it's made our evenings very pleasant this past week.
Annaliese is sitting on some of the house siding. Cedar, 15/16ths thick, (1" off the mill, then run through a planer on one side.)
We had a date night! The chamber of commerce banquet, with the after-party at Snookie and MaryLou's house. We've been to the after party for the past six years, this was the first time we went to the banquet. I was snoozing as Alexe got ready; I had been stripping the siding off the house all day, a single-day project because I had to get the old siding off and disposed off before anyone noticed and tried to stop me. (Yes, I had a very good respirator on all day.)
I found maaaany self-portraits on my phone of Alexe looking beautiful. We had lots of fun, particularly hearing the very Baptist and anti-beer mayor present the latest new business to come to Water Valley, a microbrewery. Fourth in the state.
I took a day off some time in the last ten days, and the kids and I played, all day long. There was lots of whacking golf balls into the back field and forest, then marching around and hunting for them. We set up a t-ball field and whacked baseballs for a while. Caspian figured out worms can be found under most logs, and we made many trips to the chicken pen to feed them his catch. He had those chickens hopping up to take them from his fingers.
We curled up in bed and caught up on Doctor Who.
When Alexe came home we headed to the back valley to try to light one of the brush piles for a marshmallow roast. The fire didn't take, everything has been perpetually soaked, but it turned into an exploration of where the stream that comes out of the pond leads.
Caspian found that red cooler way out in the woods and carried it all the way home.
Alexe had missed the morning's activities, but we caught her up.
Waiting for one of their eight daily meals.
More self portraits, seems to be the thing to do with my phone when I'm not looking.
I've been all excited about putting the new siding on the house. It's going to be one of the most momentous updates, taking the white house and putting a new natural coat on it.
The process was supposed to involve stripping off the old siding, a mix of asbestos and other composite shingles, putting up a layer of house wrap, and installing the new siding.
It couldn't be that easy. After taking off the old siding I found this side of the house was destroyed by termites at some point in the past. The insects are long gone, but the wood on this wall is the consistency of tissue paper. I'm going to have to re-plank this wall, and a big section of another on the front of the house. Harumph.
Since it's always raining, that re-sheathing of the house has to wait anyway, so I went onto the porch and put some siding up, just to make myself feel better.
At some point the laundry room was removed, and all the remaining columns were replaced with cypress posts.
It sure is pretty.
The house is going to look great.
Crappie Fest. Caspian at the library's book-sale table.
We got to the park an hour before the kid's games started, and they were impossible for that hour. Annaliese had several pre-emptive melt-downs about non-existent jumpy-castles and her friends not being there yet.
When the other kids appeared, and they all ran into each other's arms, (literally,) things got a little easier. It was a beautiful day, and though the festival happened in my peripheral vision as I tried to keep the kids out of the street and away from other hazards, it seemed to go well.
Alexe was able to sneak out of the store for two short visits.
It started to sprinkle just as the later afternoon weigh-in was wrapping up. (I think the winning best 7 fish were just over 9 lbs total, not especially impressive, considering the amazing boats and tech the 40+ fishing teams rolled into town with.) Bigest fish was just under 2 lbs, not even close to the 5+ pound world record.
The family trundled home, and everyone took a nap while I went for an impromptu walk/hike in the rain looking for four absent pigs. You would think it would be easier to follow the trail of four destructive pigs, but I walked all over the property looking for them, and never found them. They were back at the house when I got back, and the pups and I spent some time coaxing the last three back into the pen. One of the boys had climbed back in on his own and was happily eating as much of the food in the trough as he could before the others figured out how to join him.
We're going to have a pig roast very soon.
A warm bath later, the family curled up on in our pajamas with popcorn and watched the latest Indiana Jones flick. And remembered how disappointed we were with Spielburg and Lucas for their poor writing and directing. It was embarrassing how bad it was, but we still had fun watching it with the kids and answering all their questions about aliens.
This afternoon we have a birthday party for Caspian's best friend at 2, and at 4 Jon Dee Graham is playing a concert in my office. I'm told he's the best that Austin has to offer...