Thursday, March 26, 2009

With Balaclava helmets over their heads, yes

I am in a FOUL mood. I am in such a bad mood that it's FUNNY. Tonight at work I was a little hypoglycemic and a little menstrual (TMI? F.U!) and I stalked over to my colleague 'Librarian' Is A Euphemism for WHAT? (LIAEFW for short) and told her to give me some of the M&Ms she has stashed in her desk or I would pull her hair.

Her M&M's bag was, as it turns out, being used to store plastic spider rings. Ho yeah, it might have gotten ugly had not another librarian (Pseudonym Forthcoming) stepped in with a bag of Dove Dots.

Now, I have forbidden myself to write about my job on this blog, except to make very general observations, or if I did something silly, or, in more than one case, to complain about being ogled. That is my right. I get ogled, I get to complain. And so tonight, I must limit myself to a few very general observations.

While most people who come into the library looking for help are delightful and civil, some are not. Some people who use the library are lazy. Some are dumb. Or ill-mannered. Some, of course, are mentally ill and need residential services and don't get them because this is America and apparently we think that crazy people are picturesque additions to the landscape. Also tonight, the Internet was so slow as to be considered a Barrier To Effective Service. And for some reason, every time I answered the phone, the volume was WAAAY up and crackin in my ear. Ow.

Of course, I started my shift feeling all Buffy Season Six (in which the writers humiliate the blonde in every way they can imagine) because I had spent eight of the previous 24 hours crawling around on the basement floor. I painted the baseboards, I scrubbed the stray grout off the slate floor tiles in the bathroom (um, that took TWO HOURS), I sealed that slate floor, and I started to lay the carpet tiles in the guest room down there.

Lets count down the positions I have been spending a lot of time in on the basement floor:

6. Kneeling
5. Squatting (including squatting with head on wall for balance)
4. Criss-cross applesauce
3. Hands and knees
2. Prone

And the number-one position for scrubbing grout, sealing floor tile, painting baseboard, AND laying carpet tile:

1. Elbows and knees, ass in the air

It was like yoga - with solvents.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Life used to be so hard

Yeah, no. Actually, now that the contractors have gone, MY work increases exponentially. I (we) have to figure out where things go in the new kitchen, wash or wipe or vacuum or dust EVERY SINGLE THING IN THE HOUSE, seal the deck, seal the grout, seal the new bathroom floor, install the carpet in the basement, move furniture, paint, figure out curtains and blinds... basically reconfigure my house.

But I don't mind. You know I don't. I'm sitting here in the new kitchen working on the laptop and the only sounds I hear are the dishwasher and the washing machine (both of which have been running more or less constantly since Friday, the last day the contractors were here). I can gaze out the kitchen window at my two new bird feeders. I can gaze, uh, INSIDE the kitchen window at the toaster sitting peacefully in its corner on the new countertop. All is well.

To wrap up this thing, here are before, during, and after photos of the work on our house. We had half the basement leveled and built a family room / guest room and full bath down there. We re-did the kitchen. We had sliding doors installed in the dining room, leading to a new deck.


basement - before


They had to cut out the previous, viciously slanted, basement floor and pour a new, flat, one. That corner in the upper left is where the bathroom is now.

Basement guest room leveled and framed. Stairs are to the outside.

Guest room painted.

This little ell was going to be my office, but now looks like a good spot for an elliptical for Bob. We'll make the old playroom into an office / homework room. It has windows.

basement bathroom
Bathroom getting its slate floor.


Here's that little ell with drywall, ceiling, electricity, paint and molding.

The blue-sky guest room, with ceiling, light, a new window.

Basement bathroom

And! Visitors to Chez Librarian will luxuriate in their very own full bathroom! Enjoy the heated floor, the ample light, and the oversize tub! Be sure to notice the dark-purple towels that an entire staff of librarians and everyone I know on Facebook helped me find! Stocked with LUSH products, courtesy of my sister-in-law Janie!

I love this room.



This was an early conception, using IKEA's kitchen planning software. That program kept crapping out on me, it uses a lot of memory. But it's pretty close to what we ended up doing, actually.



And this is on its VERY BEST DAY.



First they destroyed it.

new! improved! with walls!

Then they rebuilt it.

dishes and glasses are going to go up there

Then it was paint, floor, electricity, cabinets.


First meal in the new kitchen

And then it was time to stand back and sniffle.



our house from the back yard

Hugged tight to the house, only projects about 8' at its deepest. Old and splintery, with nails that we knocked back in every spring. Its time had come.


Wrecking the old deck. I would have enjoyed doing that part myself, actually.

upper deck, from 2nd floor window

Building the new one. Bigger. Two levels.

deck stairs coming along

We wanted it to step down into the yard in increments, like.


Airing out the living room rug

the deck is done!

DINING ROOM (sliding door to deck)


Living room, looking into dining room

See those two little casement windows? That was previously about it for our view of the backyard. Our house seemed to literally turn its back on the yard - you couldn't see it from anywhere inside the house.


So we paid men to come and chop a big giant hole in the wall.

Found in our dining room wall

They found a pack of cigarettes. This is the same brand in which the famous Honus Wagner baseball card was found. No card. We put 'em back in the wall, along with a half-smoked pack of Marlboro Reds.


Sliding doors onto deck

"Then, window, let day in, and let life out."

Curtains for the deck door

And curtains for when the sun is too much.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"As the basal ganglia take up their power tools, what started as an ordinary headache is turning into something much, much worse" - Clive Owen

I have been having a headache. If that seems like an odd deployment of the past perfect (I think) tense, consider that I woke up with this headache early last week, spent two days and several evenings in bed with it, and was almost rid of it this morning, only to have it reprise early this afternoon, this time with full chorus and strolling musicians.

It's kind of evolving. It makes me nauseous. It reverberates through my joints and in my back. It is affected by light. As of Sunday, it began to notice sound. And yesterday, it caused my hands to shake. Maybe we should make a Discovery Channel documentary out of it. Can Clive Owen narrate? He'd make it sound ominous and sexy.

Anyway, after trying multiple combinations of Advil, Aleve, Excedrin, hydrating like a motherfucker, abstaining from caffeine, taking extra caffeine, etc., my generous and caring cousin spanked me some Imitrex. Oh, she is one talented cousin, that cousin!

I took my friend Loren's advice, and waited to take it until I knew I didn't have anything to do for the next few hours. I'm terrible at drugs anyway. My first labor was hell, you should have been there. No you shouldn't have. So tonight around 6pm I took the Imitrex and got in a bubble bath. These headaches also make me cold, very cold, unwarmably cold.

The headache wasn't going anywhere, but I did get nice and warm. I had brought a book into the bathroom, but I forgot about it while I watched the patterns in the bubbles. I saw a lioness, a cream pie (one of those tall ones like you see in diners), Grover from Sesame Street (twice), a proboscis monkey, the state of Georgia - wait no that was South Carolina, Chester Cheetah, a polar bear, and the silhouette of a cruise ship.

So I decided to get out of the bath.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lay your weary head to rest

Still has all his baby teeth

Conversation with my five-year-old boy.

YNL: I give you guys extra love at night so you won't have bad dreams.
Zhou: I never have dreams, so... [shrugs]
YNL: Well, that's not going to stop me. Better safe than sorry.
Z: I had a bad dream once, though. A duck walked into my room.
YNL: A duck? And that was a bad dream?
Z: You know how when you're not expecting something?
YNL: Sure, ok, I can see how that might creep you out.
Z: And I had a bad dream about a chicken shaking its booty. Wearing goggles.
YNL: Do... all of your dreams have birds in them?
Z: No, I had a dream about a tiger once. It was coming out of my closet. But that wasn't a bad dream.
YNL: The duck was a bad dream, and the tiger wasn't.
Z: Well... I was just making that up, about the tiger.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I haven't been so offended in weeks - or, "Tell me what you want, what you really really want"

Which Spice Girl Are You?

You are Baby Spice. The world sees a shy, yet confident person when they look at you. You are empathetic and know how to comfort a friend instantly. You are sometimes given the reputation of being prim and proper, but your best friends know what a crazyfun person you are!

Find Your Character @

Friday, March 06, 2009

His sunglasses were also in his work bag

when he backed over it

when he backed over it. But like the laptop, the glasses were ok!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

"This is KAOS: We don't 'Ka-frickin'-boom' here"

me and Mr. Librarian

We are back living in our house full-time but, if possible, we are more disoriented than even we were when we were commuting across town from my parents' house.

For instance: to prepare a meal, first we have to locate dishes and cookware. Then wash them, because they are covered with drywall dust. The washing's in the utility sink in the basement - still no water in the kitchen. Then we cook, bringing food up from the basement fridge and around from the breadbox and food-prep stash in the dining room. Then back to the dining room - the long way, because the door between the kitchen and the dining room is still blocked, and I'm not sure why. Then there's washing up. My back is KILLING me from bending over that utility sink.

And Oh yes, I know, cry me a river, I'm going to get a brand new way-classy kitchen out of all this and I should just shut my yap. We are listening to The Long Winter in the car and holy Jesus the Ingalls family is down to bread and water, huddled in the dark around the cookstove in the kitchen, burning straw because there is no more coal or wood, with at least another month of winter to go. That is not us.

But man, I'm telling you, we are getting funky in the head from all this. Today? No wait this deserves its own paragraph.

Today my husband ran over his laptop with the car.

And didn't realize it.

I mean, mornings around here are even more messed-up than dinner: first of all, there's me, no help at all, virtually catatonic until about 8:00 a.m.; and there's NO socks, I think we left two dozen pairs of boy socks over my mom's; and the milk is in the basement, and the cereal is who knows where, and you have to wash the bowls and locate some spoons if it's cereal, and if it's oatmeal, you have to unplug the rice maker and plug in the microwave. I don't even know what Bob has to go through to make lunches - I haven't made a lunch since Mao's first week of school three years ago.

And now there's snow.

So today, Bob was taking the kids to school because I had to be at work at 9:00 and before that I had to have a high-level conference with the contractors over, I shit you not, drawer pulls and weatherstripping. People were running late because our Zhou decided he had to count to 300 before getting out of bed. (NOT incipient OCD - I am sure that if someone had noticed that he was lying in bed counting, and asked him to quit that and get up and get dressed, he would have been able to do so without going into a screaming fugue state.) Oh and then somebody had to poop.

Eventually though, they were off. Bob took the minivan, because the Civic was mired in the mud and snow and ice at the bottom of the driveway, and besides the kids hate riding in that car, it looks like a cross between a gym locker and a file cabinet. He was going to stop back to help me pry the Civic out of its icy berth before we both headed off to work.

While he was gone, I had my drawer pull summit with Contractor Mike. When we moved on to the weatherstripping around the front door, I noticed Bob's gym bag and work bag sitting in the snow where the driveway meets the sidewalk. I call him on the phone.
"Did you get mugged at the end of our driveway twenty minutes ago?"
"You don't seem to have managed to have gotten your gym bag and work bag all the way into the car."
"Oh you're kidding. I had to go back inside for someone's lunchbox and I must have walked right past them."
"I'll go get them - you'll run 'em over if you pull in the driveway, where they are now."
"Oh my god -"
"Do you think - ?"
"Did you feel a bump when you pulled out?"
"I did."
"Because - I've seen a laptop after it's been run over by a car, and - well it looks pretty cool actually - the screen gets all saggy, but..."
So I fetched the bags in and it was hard to tell. There was no tire track, nothing was visibly squished, but I didn't try to open the laptop. I thought at most he'd caught part of one of the bags, but not a direct hit.

Turns out, yeahhh, he ran it over. When I talked to him later though, he said, "But you're never going to believe it, it started right up!" He hooked it to a projector and was cranking along on his spreadsheets and proposals. I advised him to a) order a new laptop and b) save anything he could salvage to a flash drive immediately. I also said, "Note to self: buy more life insurance for Bob." He thinks I'm making with TEH HUMER when I say that and to that I snort "Sure thing, Seizure Boy."

We have got to get this project DONE.