Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sweeping It Under The Rug

When The Bearded One travels, which is not so often these days, “normal” routines go right out the window. When Stubble was little, it was an excuse to have Friday night dinners of Coke and Popcorn while we watched the latest Disney ‘made for TV’ movie. Nutritionists do not be alarmed; I made him eat an apple for “balance”.
It was more important to spend time together than it was to do laundry as long as we still had clean underwear in the dresser. At least that is what I told myself. In reality it was because I just didn’t have the time or the energy to keep everything spotless (um...relatively clean) when there wasn’t somebody to tag team parent. It was a standing joke that the kitchen got cleaned when the call came from the airport that the plane had landed.
I kind of miss those times. Now that he is all grown up, I don’t have a valid excuse not to cook healthy dinners, wash up afterwards, and do laundry regularly. These days, I’d sure like to have somebody to watch a Disney Movie with while the kitchen just quietly stays a mess.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Tale of Home Improvement

One. Little. Nail. Just one. “Honey, why don’t you pull that nail out of the drywall before we install the sink?”
We are installing a utility sink in the garage. For the years long renovation of the house, we have been using the large, black, (expensive), Kohler kitchen sink to clean paint brushes, and mix thinset and grout. Anything nasty that we need to do involving water has happened in that sink. So now, with only the kitchen floor left to tile, why on earth is a utility sink suddenly a necessity? I suppose, because it is a way to delay the installation of the HardieBacker for another week. No, not really. It is so when the tile goes into the kitchen, we have access to water in a sink big enough to fill a pot and wash a dish.
There was a plan. It was to get the corner of the garage where the sink would reside cleaned out, get all materials, and prep in advance so the installation would take about 3 hours and then the rest of the weekend could be devoted to backer board. Well, as with most plumbing projects, 3 hours proved to be a wildly optimistic estimate.
I kept to the plan. I took a couple of hours of vacation time to clear out the garage. It was quality time well spent with a trash can. Why on earth did we keep boxes of old cassette tapes that we haven’t listened to in nearly 20 years? Couldn’t tell you, but they are gone now. As are the 7 empty wine boxes we were saving for some unknown reason. I forced a midweek trip to Home Depot to purchase the sink, faucet, ABS pipe, new glue, 90 ° elbows, 45 ° elbows, copper pipe, shut off valves, solder, and couplings. We were all set to go first thing Saturday morning.
Our house is built into a hillside so that the main floor is at ground level in the front; there is an upper floor above the garage that houses the master bedroom suite, and a family room and half bath that open into the backyard on a lower floor. Under most of the house is standing headroom so that running new pipes is relatively easy; it isn’t like you have to tear up concrete or anything…
So, I suggested that the protruding nail be removed. It has been there since we purchased the house 18 years ago and when valuable household items were piled in front of it, I never noticed. But now that there would be a sink right there, it made sense to pull out the useless nail. So The Bearded One pulled the nail out and A STREAM OF WATER BEGAN TO SHOOT OUT OF THE WALL! ARRRGHHH!
Drywall removal was quickly accomplished with a Dremel Multi-Max (if you don’t own one, you should), soggy insulation was pulled out and it turned out that the nail had penetrated the trap in the washing machine drain.
We now have a 2’ x 2’ hole in that garage wall that is being “left open to dry”. There has been a new trap installed for the washer drain. The sink is in place and functional. Our son, Stubble, learned a lot about plumbing including how much fun a Bernzomatic torch can be. And it only took 6 additional trips to Home Depot to accomplish the job. Total time on the job: about 10 hours.
Next job: Patching the drywall. But that will be another Tale.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Ladies and Gentlemen, The Birdie has left the Building
How do you fill up your time when the nest suddenly empties? I thought I had worked through this when a girlfriend and a driver’s license arrived practically simultaneously a few years ago, but as graduation and college approach the question has resurfaced. With a vengeance.
I guess you try to figure out who exactly you are now that you have spent the last 18 plus years being “mom, Mom, MOM”. Finding a life outside of soccer, basketball, swimming lessons, singing lessons, band, youth theater productions, trips to friend’s houses, and tutoring is proving to be a bit elusive; much like trying to corral a cat who doesn’t want a flea bath. Not that I miss the endless driving, driving, driving interspersed with waiting, waiting, waiting one little bit.
In the “pre-Mom” time, my life used to revolve around theater, endless theater; production after production. Or music. Then came “Stubble”. I can count the times that I have picked up my guitar in the last 18 years on the fingers of one hand. Do I really want to try to get the calluses back? I don’t know. For the last decades many things “me” have been on hold. And at the time, I didn’t miss me. I was too busy trying to get Stubble to adulthood relatively unscathed and reasonably enriched. I waved goodbye as career gently drifted away, replaced by job because it made more sense at the time.
I have certainly made some positive changes. I have joined a Fitness Center and lost much weight and gained much stamina, but filling in all of the time with something that I find fulfilling is proving more difficult. I love baking, but friends and neighbors have said, “Enough, already”. I have started dancing again, but that takes up a few hours a week and I really am finding that I have no desire to do theater again. Life without theater? How does one survive it? Very easily, actually. I am very surprised at this, but I am past the age of moving from chorus to chorus again even if I get my dancing skills back. And when it comes right down to it, do I really want to devote weeks and weeks to rehearsals followed by weeks and weeks of performances? Yes, performing is a real thrill, but it requires a huge commitment of time to the exclusion of all else.
I love writing. I can do it in my own time and on my own terms. So here we are: Reclaiming Chris. One post at a time.