Thursday, October 30, 2014

One Baby, One Puppy, and One Red Balloon

Kindred Spirits Share a Moment

I love this thing! 

As a child I loved helium-filled balloons as most kids do. They float, they can make your hair crazy, you can bounce them- they're awesome.

As a parent, I'm not so thrilled with the helium-filled balloon. The girls have fun with them and then they do what all balloons do...they POP.

And then the tears start.

But the other day we unfortunately were given a red helium-filled balloon and for a few moments- bliss was absolute. I'll let the photos do most of the talking this time.

Isn't this the best thing, Gibson? - Yes, kid, you bring home the best things to chew on. 

I tried to explain that sharp puppy teeth and balloons don't mix, but Baby Blueberry wouldn't listen. Around and around she would run in the living room, letting Gibson chase her. Laughing and giggling. And he loves to play with her. Jumping up on furniture, following her around the room, trying to play with her.

For a few moments- pure joy and bliss. And then...

Puppy, what happened?

Both babies stopped in shock, not sure what happened to their toy. Gibson started sniffing around, trying to figure out how it disappeared. Baby Blueberry wondered how it went from a wonderful- bouncy toy to something so boring and flat.

A helium balloon always bring sadness. Great joy and then POP. That is just the way of the balloon. And just when Baby Blueberry and Gibson decide that a piece of latex can be fun, Mommy takes it away, says it's now considered a choking hazard and it's gone.

And somehow all that sadness will be forgotten as soon as another helium-filled balloon is found.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Adventures in Sewer Back-ups, Ruined Basements, and Insurance Companies

      Sewer Germs are so GROSS-in case I forget to mention that- GROSS

     With most of my friends this year packing up and leaving for exotic places and new adventures, I wanted a grand adventure of my own.
     What I settled for was sorting our stuff and getting rid of clutter so we would be ready to move should the remote possibility arrive and fix up our house in case we needed to sell it in hurry. A girl can be hopeful, right?
     Tuesday I got my wish- just not the way I had envisioned it.
    My fairy godmother sucks.

    Bean was in the shower when the water started raising. She hurried out, hastily putting her clothes on as the water started to come out of the toilet. When she came rushing up the stairs and said the toilet was overflowing, I grabbed the plunger.
      “No, Mom. You don't need that. It's not plugged.” She's trying to explain to me as we rush back downstairs.
     I stop at the bathroom door, shocked by what I'm seeing.
The towels stopped the gushing, which I wished I captured in a photo, but you can see the water still coming out of the toilet and this is towards the end of the 45 minutes.

      Water is like a geyser shooting out of the toilet, with debris of toilet paper and branches and who knows what else, (I don't really want to know). The shower is overflowing, and the floor is already covered in an inch of water and it's quickly flowing into the other parts of the downstairs.
     “Get your Dad.” I holler at her, not sure what to do. This is more than a blocked sewer pipe out to the main sewer line.

      The next few minutes pass in a hurried blur of shouting at each other as Hero Hottie comes rushing down the stairs and realizes we can't do anything to stop it.
     The older girls and I start to grab things off the floor before the water can reach it and throw them onto top of beds and counter tops, trying to save as much as we can. From the photos you can see we couldn't save everything.
     And for 45 minutes we watched as water kept pumping into our house, ruining half our house.            
      Destroying the girls' bedrooms, the downstairs bathroom, the living room. Inches and inches of sewer water flowed everywhere.
     The cause: The construction company up the street had busted a water main, causing sewer to back up into six different homes on the blocks. Our house was hit the worse. But all the houses would need new flooring.
     We sent the girls' over to Grandma's so they could clean up and get the sewer water off their bodies. The upstairs was contaminated by our footsteps.
     My house was a bio hazard.
What's this brown stuff?

     Gross. Totally gross and just a little – no, completely gross.

     Sewer water. People's poo. Covering my girls' bed. My couch. My Blueberry's toys. I wanted to cry. And scream.
    Hero Hottie was upset. He marched down the street, still in bare feet because he didn't want to put sewer water covered feet in his shoes and started demanding answers.
   Mostly who is fixing this and they better start right now.
   Hero Hottie and I are pretty easy going people. Except when a company pumps sewer water into our home for 45 minutes and RUINS our house. Then we're a little bit more demanding.

   Which was a good thing. Because within a couple of hours, the construction company had professional cleaners, Stanley Steemers, at the house, decontaminating the floor so we could safety walk through and grab our personal items that were savable.
Clothes, baby potty, Abu's retainer and waterpik all totally gross and ruined

Blueberry's toys completely ruined. You can't clean those toys enough. Not for this Momma.

Who wants toast?

Sorry Gibson, it got your dog food too.

    In the last few days, the company has taken the flooring out of Abu's room, ran 13 giants fans to dry the sheet rock, tore out most of the bathroom, and spray all kinds of germ killing chemicals into cracks and around edges of walls.
   Bean and I have spent the last four days, not doing schoolwork as planned, but sorting through the damaged items, making an inventory with photos, and then finding the replacement price of the item on the Internet. That way they can see how much damage they did, at least the monetary side of it.
   They can't replace the sack of letters I had from loved ones who have already moved on, and they can't replace the box of teenage memories, the photos that Bean looked at and said, “Wow, Mom you were pretty when you were a teenager.”
   “Thanks.” I said sarcastically.
   “No, I just're pretty now too. It's just, you didn't have wrinkles.”
   “Just stop talking.” I said. 

It's just stuff. But it was the stuff I used to take care of my family.

These are the things that can't be replaced.
And you want to know the irony of this? We are in the process of fixing up our upstairs shower, so this was our only working shower. Guess what kids? We're all taking showers in the kitchen sink. Or with the garden hoses out back. It's only a little cold outside this time of year. Brrr.

These giants fans, 13 of them, run for 72 hours to help dry everything. There is a constant hum upstairs and the cove heaters are turned up to 90 to heat things up. The smell upstairs is stomach turning. Damp, and hot and coying.

    They can't replace the container of dance costumes I had been keeping from all the girls' dance recitals since they were five and tiny and just my little girls. And they can't replace a Blue Blankie that was Abu's security blanket, especially when I was sick. She carried that thing everywhere, quietly watching me, wondering if Momma was ever going to get better.

    The couch, the beds, even the toys are replaceable. We won't get new price for it, but as long as we get enough, Hero Hottie and I can rebuild the downstairs and give the girls' their rooms back.

    But in the meantime, my mother-in-law is kindly doing all our laundry since my washer and dryer is off limits until they have been decontaminated. We have been staying at my in-laws' house too, until we can buy another mattress and set up three girls in the tiniest room in our house.
     A teenager and a toddler in one room. What could go wrong?

   When Blueberry finally saw our house, her bottom lip quivers, her eyes filling with moisture and she whispers. “House broken.”

     Yes, little sweetie, our house is broken.

     So in a way I have been granted my wish. We packed up part of our house and MOVED it to the garage. And we're redoing our entire downstairs. And I'm having a grand adventure of the character building sort.

     Blah, character building adventures are for literary novels. I wanted sun, sand and fun. I swear, one of these days, I just going to move to New Zealand. Their website says they're the happiest place on the Earth. I'm assuming after Disneyland, of course. 

Some beach in New Zealand, works for me- I'm not picky


Friday, October 17, 2014

The Case of the Sneaky Parents

Or How a Two Year Old Has Toy Radar

For Blueberry's 2nd birthday we had bought her a collection of toys called Calico Critters. There are many different family sets, ones that look like cats, dogs, mice, beavers, and pandas. She has a phobia about rodents, so we picked the pandas.
       Since she has recently watched the movie, Kung Fu Panda- the main character is a huge, funny panda named Po- when she opens up the package, she hugs it and says, "A family of Pos."
       So when you ask you to explain them to you, she says, "This one is the momma Po, and the Dada Po, and the Baby Po."

A Family of Pos

       At this lovely local toy store downtown, where they actually know us by name, not because we buy much except around birthdays or Christmas time, but we like to go in there and look at the toys- and they encourage such behavior. Who knew a toy store could be so kid friendly. They have a train table set up to play with, and a little grand piano, shopping carts that are Blueberry's size, a funny mirror, and a table with the Calico Critters. That's where Blueberry fell in love with these toys,- ohh, that's why they let you play with the toys. ;-)

The toy store also had a booklet with all the available sets and accessories a parent could grow broke buying and at night, while she was going to bed Blueberry would look through it, always stopping on the page with the red, shiny car and telling me she wants that for her family of Pos.

So for Christmas, Hero Hottie and I already knew we were going to purchase the red, shiny car perfect for a family of Pos for Blueberry.

One day we went in the toy store just to let the kids have some fun and there it was - the red, shiny car and if we bought it today, we would get the $15 roof rack set for FREE.
That's like a fifteen dollar coupon, even though we wouldn't have purchased the roof rack set for her otherwise, but we couldn't pass this opportunity up.

So Hero Hottie makes his way casually over to the cash register, while I distracted the Blueberry by the train set. While he's purchasing the car with the FREE roof rack, Blueberry takes off, running purposely next to him, and looks at him.

Eye contact has been made. But has she seen the gift being wrapped in bright green Christmas paper?

She doesn't slow down so she must not see what we're doing. I take a big sigh of relief.

We exit the store with the most neatly wrapped presents that will be under my tree. Can I take all my presents down here to be wrapped?

But our plan of Sneaky Christmas presents starts to unravel. She keeps touching the boxes and saying, "presents. presents?" Her little eyebrows are arched and she holding back her excitement.

Apparently the kid doesn't know the difference between birthday wrapping paper and Christmas wrapping paper, because all she's seeing are presents.

We hide them in the car and sneak them into the house. Hopefully, out of sight will be out of mind. But chaos breaks out when we enter and I stick them in my room, setting them near the closets, without hiding them.

A few hours later, after supper and the bigger girls are off to bed but little stinker butt, who has the most horrible time going to bed is still up, Hero Hottie and I are talking in the living room, and she's going back and forth between her bedroom and us.

Or so we thought. Nope, the Blueberry was busy doing other things.

She comes into the living room, sets down the unwrapped car on the floor where we're sitting and says, with a big flourish,


"What? You unwrapped your Christmas present?"

"Car, Momma. Car for Pos." Her little finger is poking the box, a huge grin on her face.

Hero Hottie and I are laughing so hard. We completely failed as sneaky parents. The little stinker must have known FROM THE STORE, that we had bought the car for Pos. And she had just been waiting for us to leave the presents unguarded.

And she unwrapped the bigger present and left the little present alone.

The FREE Roof Rack is in the STILL wrapped Christmas present. She knew which one to open.